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In years gone by, your approach may have been commonly recommended. However, in today's world of work, not taking action after being informed of offensive and hostile behavior is usually viewed by courts as a failure to act and negligence. Likewise, procrastination or putting off investigating the matter can be seen as apathy. This is why sexual harassment policies support employees going to the next level of management when lodging complaints. It's better to ask, "How do I act now in order to get a fast, fair resolution regarding this incident?" Think speed and responsiveness. The employee should be offered support, and Personal Assistance Service can help. Referring the employee to PAS can reduce the risk to the organization and help employee manage any sort of emotional issues brought on by the incident.

Although education is an important prevention measure, another piece of prevention/intervention is to reinforce complaint procedure so that employees understand the process and are encouraged to use it. As a supervisor, you want to know when employees are being discriminated against, being harassed, or facing other problems like bullying on the job. Periodically, remind employees about the complaint procedure, and be careful not to minimize or ignore complaints brought to you by employees. It is easy to ignore indirect complaints, such as passing comments about problems from third parties. No matter how it is couched, minimized, or diplomatically described to you, treat a complaint as a complaint. Anything less may cause you to overlook victimization. Do not treat harassment complaints as "personality conflicts" in need of some sort of coaching or mediation. Actions that minimize or "define problems down" place organizations at risk of later legal claims that you knew or should have known about the harassing behavior, but did nothing about it.

In the past, the same argument was used to minimize the impact of sexual harassment in the workplace. Today, sexual harassment is illegal. Research has now documented its true cost. Bullying in the workplace is rapidly receiving the same level of recognition, also supported by research. See this citation on abusive supervision. Do you ridicule employees? Have you put employees down in front of others? Have you accused them of incompetence, kept them away from “the good assignments,” not given them credit for their work, yelled at them, or invaded their privacy by asking probing personal questions? Many of these behaviors were once considered natural elements of the traditional workplace, but not today. Talk to PAS about making changes. Most employees who complain to supervisors about bullying say they do not see substantive changes from their tormentors. This implies that changing these behaviors can be tough. Still, you could remain at risk for employment or legal claims if your tactics don’t shift.