Getting Back to Work and Back to “Normal” After a Harassment Investigation

A Kantola Learning Minute

An HR administrator wrote to say she just completed an investigation into a harassment claim. Now she needs advice on how to get her workplace back to “normal”. What to do? Find out in this week’s Kantola Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.

Hi, I'm Linda Garrett with a Kantola Learning Minute. Here's an interesting question we've received: The writer says, "I've just completed an investigation into a harassment claim that involves some of the employees I manage. I think the investigation turned out well, but I know some people are still upset with the complainant for telling on the coworker. I can't keep my employees under constant surveillance, but I also want to make sure no one retaliates. Do you have any suggestions?"

Well, you know, I think you're smart to be aware of the potential for retaliation. It's normal to be mad if you got in trouble with the boss because someone turned you in and, also, it's not uncommon for people to side with the popular coworker.

The important thing is that you warn people during the investigation, and during the interviews, against retaliation, and, at this point, I think you can touch base with the complainant a few times to make sure it isn't happening. And, be mindful that sometimes it can take quite subtle forms so you may not notice it yourself. And then everyone should get back to work. If you notice coworkers gossiping about the event, you can pull them aside and tell them that the matter is closed now and they need to get back to business.

I know it can be difficult, especially if someone's been disciplined, to keep the gossip mill down, but it is important that the work goes on.

Good luck with this, and thanks for giving us an interesting question to discuss.

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