Harassment complainant not happy with solution

Balancing proper discipline isn't easy
By Stuart Rudner
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 07/06/2016

Question: How should an employer treat a harassment complaint about unwanted comments when it knows the harasser wasn't intending to offend, but thought he was being nice? What if the employer is satisfied the harasser got the message, but the complainant isn’t happy with the solution?

Answer: This is not an unusual situation. On many occasions, complaints of harassment relate less to evil intent than to misguided behaviour. Sometimes, that behaviour is based upon outdated and sexist views that are entirely unacceptable in today’s society. While the conduct is inappropriate and must be stopped, it is often possible to address the situation by providing the offender with training so that they understand why their conduct is unacceptable.

To begin with, as readers will already know, any allegation of harassment must be taken seriously and investigated properly. In most cases, this will require, at the very least, that the complainant and “accused" be interviewed. Ultimately, the person tasked with conducting the investigation will have to reach a conclusion as to whether the complaint was substantiated.