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Topic: Grievances

letter acknowledging harassment complaint
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Letter acknowledging harassment complaint

Letter acknowledging harassment complaint

Where an employee reports a complaint of harassment or bullying under the terms of your dignity at work policy, use our letter to acknowledge their complaint and to outline your policy and procedure for handling it. It confirms that the employee will need to be interviewed as part of the investigation and it warns them that the alleged perpetrator will need to be interviewed too. Once the investigation is completed, you must let the employee know the outcome.

 

Dignity at work policy

Your dignity at work policy should set out a procedure for employees to report complaints that they’re being harassed or bullied. Sometimes, that might simply be by reference to your existing grievance procedure but often there’s a separate procedure in place to take account of the sensitive nature of these complaints. Our Dignity at Work Policy sets out a bespoke procedure for the reporting and investigation of harassment complaints, but it also allows the employee to use the grievance procedure if they want. 

Zero-tolerance approach

Assuming you do have a separate procedure, you’ll then need to follow it once an employee has reported their harassment complaint. Our Letter Acknowledging Harassment Complaint follows the procedure outlined in our dignity at work policy. It starts by setting out your policy commitment to providing a work environment in which everyone is treated with respect and dignity and then goes on to confirm your zero-tolerance approach to harassment and bullying. So it assures the employee that their allegations are being treated seriously and will be dealt with promptly and confidentially.

Investigation process

The starting point is to launch an investigation, so our letter confirms the appointment of an investigating manager and arranges an interview with the employee with a view to obtaining a written witness statement from them setting out the full details of their complaint. Our letter outlines the information they will need to be ready to provide as part of that interview (names, dates, times, places, witnesses, etc.). Generalised allegations, with no reference to specific examples, just aren’t going to be enough and the employee needs to understand this. We’ve given the employee the right to be accompanied at the interview by a work colleague or trade union official of their choice.

Confidentiality

Whilst you should investigate harassment complaints in confidence as far as possible, our letter acknowledges that the alleged perpetrator will need to be informed of the exact nature of the complaint against them so that they’re afforded the full and fair opportunity to respond. Likewise, other employees may need to be interviewed if it’s believed that they’re witnesses or other victims. Your investigation needs to be sufficiently thorough and the employee must accept that.

Outcome

Our letter then provides that, once the investigation has been completed, you’ll let the employee know the outcome. It reiterates your commitment to taking appropriate action where complaints are upheld and explains that this may mean disciplinary action being taken against any perpetrator who is found to have committed harassment or bullying. Finally, our letter assures the employee that if they’ve raised a genuine complaint they won’t be penalised. The same doesn’t, however, apply if their complaint turns out to be deliberately false or malicious - then you would have the right to discipline them.

 

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