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HR: Workplace Harassment and Role of HR
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Workplace Harassment and Role of HR

By Betsy Taylor


在国内叫车软件"滴滴"风头正盛发展迅猛之时,海外叫车APP的"老大"Uber(优步)却麻烦不断:先是Uber联合创办人兼CEO卡兰尼克与Uber司机吵架爆粗口被拍,后有总裁杰夫•琼斯宣布辞职,更令女性朋友愤怒的是Uber公司人力资源部门对性骚扰申诉置之不理——一名离职女员工苏珊‧芙勒2月在网上发出了自己在Uber工作时遭到性骚扰和性别歧视的经历,当时公司竟然忽略她的申诉。她向人力资源部汇报了事件之后,却被告知由于这是"初次违规",因此不会采取进一步行动,而且人力资源部门还建议她应该尝试加入公司内部的其他团队。此篇文章在网络广传,Uber遭到猛烈抨击。Uber此前特别是在对待女性的问题上有过一系列的争议事件,这只是最新近的一起。这次事件促使Uber执行长卡兰尼克进行两波调查,215件性骚扰和其他指控的相关申诉也因而曝光。


无论后来调查结果如何,恶劣影响已不可避免,这样大的一家高市场份额的叫车服务公司因性骚扰和种族歧视问题受到重创,其人力资源部门有着不可推卸的责任。事实上,性骚扰问题在职场中长期存在,每个公司的HR都会面临处理这类争端和投诉的困扰。性骚扰事件的处理结果不仅会影响员工"军心"与去留,更会影响到企业形象和长远发展。


作为员工,在工作中如果遇到任何形式的歧视或骚扰,都拥有举报该恶劣行为的权利。作为公司的HR,人力资源部门需要制定有关骚扰申诉的程序,这不仅可以帮助受害人有效解决问题,而且还对那些潜在的性骚扰行为人产生预防警示作用。在必要时,人力资源部门也应采取实际行动,对骚扰行为人提出警告或停职等处理。


歧视无小事,性骚扰不堪其扰;只有人力资源部门充分发挥自己的作用,公司才能长远健康发展。

BT 201708 HR 03
Workplace is an environment where people work towards one cause, profit or nonprofit purposes that may be an office or factory.


What is workplace harassment?

Workplace harassment can be defined as any act of harassing either verbal or physical based on sex, gender, religion or race and any unlawful form of discrimination. Harassment issues are most difficult and sensitive matters for HR to handle professionally. Whenever a harassment complaint is launched with HR, the department has to act and resolve the matter as soon as possible and in the manner that is most satisfactory for the employee.

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Types of harassment

Workplace harassment has several components and cannot only be limited to sexual harassment but also includes calling out names, offensive jokes, ridicule treatment, insults, assaults and threats that may be physical. The harasser can be one's boss, manager/supervisor of the department, co-employee or even a non-employee.


A person may be a victim of harassment in terms of his race and originality belonging to a certain country. Some may be harassed just for being a front door receptionist because of looks or gender. Women are mostly the victims of harassment. Many female employees are offered to spend time with boss/manager/supervisor in order to excel in their careers.


The role of HR

One of the most important parts of complaints is keeping the private information shared by the employee, confidential, yet investigating the matter properly. Sometimes employees come up with the request for no action to be taken against the concerned person; this appears to be quite a challenge for the HR department because investigating may involve other employees. HR department must make the employee aware that it is the responsibility of HR professionals not only to resolve the issue first hand but also by helping others that may also be experiencing the same circumstances.


The most sensitive form is sexual harassment. HR department must make sure that employees can come forward if harassed sexually at any point and to resolve the matter with confidentiality, sensitivity and professionalism.

BT 201708 HR 01
Filing a complaint

If someone is being harassed on the basis of sex, race, religion or any other unlawful matter, the employee must report it to the HR department; first, he/she needs to see the harassment policy of the company. Sometimes it happens that the person to report to is the one who is harassing actually. In such a case the matter may be reported to the person higher in the chain of command.

BT 201708 HR 06
Reporting Harassment Protects Rights

When a harassment complaint is reported and that results in a change of employment action such as demotion, getting fired, relocated or denied a raise then the employer can be held responsible. But if the employer shows reasonable care and provides corrective measures to resolve harassment and provides an opportunity to file the harassment case, the employer cannot be held liable. The point is that the employee needs to know that he possesses the right to work in a harassment free environment.


Protecting Yourself

It is illegal that the company retaliates against the person who filed the complaint. This being illegal never means that retaliation won't happen and then such incidents may be reported to the person who is investigating the matter.


Preventative measures

HR department is responsible for drafting out a clear harassment policy and follow it whenever a complaint is filed. If the complaint goes unaddressed, the credibility of employer weakens. If the harassment continues, the employee is not helped through it or snubbed for complaining then the company can be held liable.


HR department needs to clearly outline procedures for filing complaints of harassment and as for the investigation and resolution of complaints, all the employees and managers/supervisors must be trained and well aware that they are confident and have the right to work in an environment that is discrimination or harassment free. An employee when first hired may not know about the behavioral boundaries where HR department is responsible for training them. They must sign the written acknowledgments that will be properly attached in their personal files for future purposes if involved in any such matter. Counseling or warnings in oral or written form may be communicated to the accused person in case of minor harassment but as for severe harassment, suspension or discharge from duty may be ordered.


HR department has so much to deal with other matters but harassment or discrimination issues are very sensitive and confidential and they bring a huge responsibility on HR department to resolve such cases professionally without harming the victim.


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