Legal Article - Employment Law

Role of Management

Managers dealing with any complaint involving discrimination must carry out a thorough investigation immediately, and take any consequent action as promptly as possible, maintaining confidentiality at all times.

All employees involved in the investigation are expected to respect the need for confidentiality.

The manager should advise the complainant to keep an accurate record of any discrimination incidents, which occur once the employee has raised the issue.

In the case of an informal investigation a manager should help the complainant to make it clear to the person they believe is discriminating against them and they find such behaviour unacceptable and offensive and that they wish it to stop.

This may be done orally or in writing. If the former, the complainant may wish the manager to be present when they confront the person against whom the complaint has been made.

Often an informal approach may be the most appropriate as the problem may be resolved once the person concerned realises that their behaviour appears to be offensive. If the problem is not resolved, or if the complainant has already tried this approach, it may be necessary to deal with the case more formally.

A manager should discuss the complaint and the person against whom the complaint has been made and take statements from each of them. Both have the right to be accompanied by another employee and they should be made aware of this.

If a manager believes that the parties should not work together whilst the complaint is being investigated, every effort should be made to move them apart.

The presumption should be that the person who should be moved temporarily should be the one against when the complaint has been made and not the complainant, although this will depend on the circumstances of the case.

If it is necessary for a manager to hold any interviews with the complainantís work colleagues in connection with the investigations, the complainant must be consulted about this first.

If an investigation reveals the complaint to be valid, or has been made maliciously, a manager should take prompt disciplinary action against the discriminator or the complainant respectively.

Where disciplinary action is necessary the disciplinary procedure should be followed. Depending on the severity of the incident dismissal may follow.
Where a lesser penalty such as a warning, is appropriate it will be necessary to ensure that the victim is able to continue working without anxiety or embarrassment.

A manager must discuss the outcome of the investigation and its implications for any consequent action, with both the complainant and the person whom the complaint has been made.

Both have the right to be accompanied by another employee during this discussion.


Published: 25 May 2011

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