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Colliers sexual harassment claim puts HR in spotlight

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HC Online | 14 Jun 2016, 11:30 AM Agree 0
It is alleged that the HR department was too untrustworthy to approach with complaints.
  • Bernie Althofer | 14 Jun 2016, 03:14 PM Agree 0
    Reporting various forms of counterproductive workplace behaviours such as sexual harassment and bullying may not always occur in terms of an organisational policy. Past experience suggests that individuals do tend to seek out those they can trust, and this trust is built based on a number of contacts, maintainence of confidences, information and support provided, empathy and humanity, even though at times, a support person becomes the person that is expected to solve the problem.

    Unfortunately no amount of trust established between a target and a support person will result in an incident being reported, unless the target can also trust others in the organisation. When a workplace culture is such that individuals perceive they will be further targeted, victimised, intimidated, coerced, cajoled or even talked out of making a complaint, it seems that some individuals will 'give up' because not only do they not trust some people in key positions, they don't trust the systems and processes (internal and external) that are designed to assist in achieving an outcome.

    Past experience suggests that in some cases, individuals know that the system is weighted against them so they seek advice from a support person and frame their inquiry around the "I have a friend and this is happening to them". The support person may adduce that the person is referring to themself, an no amount of 'cajoliing' or comforting will encourage the individual to report the incident.

    Whilst HR might the 'organisational owners' of policies designed to detect, prevent, report and resolve all forms of counterproductive workplace behaviours, onus and responsibility has to be shared. No still means no.
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