Colleagues too frightened to make a complaint

(8 Posts)
DisappearingFish Sun 07-Oct-18 06:48:44

How to deal with this?

Arsehole man at work, bullying, sexist, racist, homophobic, the lot. Particularly demeaning towards women.

Two female colleagues (one of which reports to me) have been on the receiving end of bullying and/or unprofessional behaviour.

HR is encouraging them to complain. They are both terrified of repercussions.

Is there anything HR can/should do to protect them? They would have to continue to work with him if he stayed after the complaints were investigated.

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SpoonBlender Sun 07-Oct-18 07:02:14

HR is encouraging them to complain so they have a formal reason to sack him. They wouldn't be asking otherwise.

Had exactly this situation at work ourselves - I encouraged my report to do it, he did, offender was out on her ear. It was great.

DisappearingFish Sun 07-Oct-18 07:19:16

Thanks for your reply.

They're not confident that he will be out on his ear. HR could just be building their case for the inevitable next complaint.

A further complicating factor is that his best mate is other colleagues boss.

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SpoonBlender Sun 07-Oct-18 07:25:15

Speak to your HR rep about it - go in from the direction of "my report is having an issue and I need to know how to reassure her so she will go through with raising an official complaint" rather than "Arsehole is being an arsehole".

Best not mention the other colleague's situation as she's out of your line so you've no responsibility angle for her, HR won't tell you anything. And of course they already know.

DisappearingFish Sun 07-Oct-18 07:29:10

What can they actually do to reassure them though? They can't second guess the outcome. Or am I missing something?

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daisychain01 Sun 07-Oct-18 12:49:27

These situations are pernicious. Those poor women have had to put up with harassment from an employee and they could well become the sacrificial lambs without proper support on their side.

The trouble is, an investigation is needed, which would ensure impartial information is gathered on both sides and tends to be triggered by a grievance being raised.

Are your colleagues certain they have sufficient evidence and people willing to be witnesses? If it is anecdotal, it can become "he said she said". If they have well documented chronological evidence about what has happen, how the harassment came about, they need to take the matter to either CAB, a solicitor or union rep who can give objective advice about their situation. Tell them to tread carefully and get a strong case together, with a solid set of facts. Don't be pushed into taking action just on the sayso of HR.

DisappearingFish Sun 07-Oct-18 16:49:11

The specific incidents which could be the subject of complaints were witnessed by people who would back up the complainants.

The question is whether they were serious enough for sacking, and working alongside him after going through the complaints process would be incredibly difficult.

No chance of moving anyone to a different role either.

There were five official complaints about him in May but no action (apart from advice to desist from arseholery in future) was taken.

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daisychain01 Sun 07-Oct-18 19:37:30

If there were that many complaints over 5 months ago, then the chances of management taking action are slim.

I'd tell them to get another job under those circumstances - management turning a blind eye to misogyny means it is part of the culture and likely impossible to fix.

People "talking with their feet" is sometimes the most powerful message, staff are the lifeblood of a company, kicking them where it hurts is a good way, because people cost a business a lot to replace.

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