Vox: Why HR is powerless to effectively handle sexual harassment claims
3 October 2019
Nobody goes looking for a meeting with HR. That had always been Maya’s thinking. Even after she was sexually harassed by wealthy board members on the job, rather than report the incidents to the human resources department, she did what so many employees do — she tried to manage it.
“I side-stepped hugs and squeezes, redirected conversations when it turned to my appearance, and politely ask not to be called ‘doll’ or ‘kitten,’” said Maya (whose name has been changed for this story).
However, when a board member made sexual advances to a college intern on her team, Maya felt differently. She was compelled to report the incident to HR.
Unfortunately, the harassment investigation lived up to Maya’s low expectations. Nobody offered a timeline or shared updates. It was unclear who, if anyone, outside of HR knew about the accusations. University leaders grew cold and distant, but Maya wasn’t sure if they were reacting to the investigation or if she was paranoid. Eventually, the stress drove her to resign.
Maya’s story is not uncommon. In my work as a human resources consultant, people come to me with questions about the intricacies of sexual harassment investigations. How does it work? Who is responsible for what? When does HR manage this process, and when is it handled externally? Can you report your boss and remain confidential?
The answer to all of those questions is this: It depends.
Read the full article on Vox.
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