"I WANT HIM FIRED!!"
another employee of sexual harassment. It is a serious allegation.
a failed attempt to mediate the situation, the complaint was
The complaint was upheld.
Do you fire the
immediately or do you ask that person to take a sensitivity workshop?
you transfer the harasser to another department? Do you threaten
if similar behaviour takes place again?
If no action is
the credibility of the policy will be destroyed.
do you decide what
action to take against a harasser? What are the criteria that you need
to weigh to assess an appropriate sanction?
If a thorough investigation
was conducted, you should have enough information to properly assess
gravity of the harassment.
The following criteria
be used when deciding on disciplinary action:
It is important to
that "intent" is not at issue in assessing whether or not the alleged
was harassment (ie. "I didn't mean anything by it,..."). But when
a sanction, intent can be factored into the decision making process.
The type of harassment
occurred -- was it physical or verbal?
How intentional was
The period of time
harassment took place
The frequency or
of the harassment
The motive for the
The history of similar
The physical and
impact on the complainant
The impact on the
The vulnerability of
The type of sanction
for by the victim can also have a significant, but not absolute, impact
on what action is taken. When a victim asks for a limited sanction,
as an apology, the policy response may be limited. Usually, an
is not required. Instead efforts are made to meet the need of the
through informal conciliation. On the other hand, if the complainant
that the alleged harasser be fired, a more formal approach must be
If the harassment was severe and the allegation was upheld, dismissal
In all cases, whatever
is being considered, the corporate interest relating to liability and a
healthy, productive workplace must be assessed. Even if the victim
a limited sanction, the severity of the harassment may demand a harsher
The penalty imposed
reflect the Sanction Assessment Criteria analysis as suggested above.
range of individual actions may include:
from a reprimand
in a personnel file to dismissal
Transfer to another
Change of job or
the June, 1997 Edition of Sexual Harassment Policy Update
Transfer of the
Counselling for the
Education or training
or other employees
Revision or addition
policies to address systemic issues
Discipline of a
supervisor who was aware of the harassment but did not deal with it.
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