New York Governor Cuomo proposed a sexual harassment complaints hotline for all government employees. His proposal is in response to a number of recent harassment complaints that have gone unanswered. As just one example, former Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak is alleged to have sexually harassed several women in his office. They complained to his chief of staff, who did nothing.
If you know anything about harassment, you know the absolute worst thing an employer can do is not respond to employee complaints. But when the person who receives the complaints reports to the alleged harasser, what do you expect? It’s a bad situation all around. Which is why it is so very important to have a good complaint protocol in place – one that tells employees what their options are if they feel they have suffered harassment or discrimination. Governor Cuomo’s idea is a great one. An official explained “We want to send a clear message that this isn’t going to be tolerated and anyone who feels that they’ve been a victim of sexual harassment has a safe place to go where their concerns will be thoroughly investigated and acted upon.” Yes, exactly.
If your organization does not have such a system in place, seriously consider one. It could be a hotline, a designated outside HR consultant (moi), or a truly independent internal person.