Sometimes your HR team isn’t the first to become aware of employee complaints about harassment and discrimination. Instead, employees look to managers and supervisors for support. Is your management team prepared?

In Managers: What You Should Do When an Employee Reports Harassment, employment attorney Janine Yancey tells Fast Company’s Lydia Dishman that employees experiencing harassment or discrimination may not want to formalize their complaint by talking to HR. Instead, these employees may confide in a supervisor or manager.

But can managers overlook a complaint if the employee doesn’t want to pursue the matter? The answer is no. Once a supervisor becomes aware of an issue, he or she has an obligation to investigate. That’s why it is important that every member of management knows what to do. 

In this eESI podcast, Practical HR Tip for Management: The Reluctant Manager with Melinda Bassey and Karla Saenz, we discuss the risks of failing to consistently handle employment issues as they arise. We also examine what employers can do to ensure that their managers have the tools they need to effectively respond to HR-related issues.


Why “The Reluctant Manager?”

eESI team members Melinda Bassey and Karla Saenz, who joined us for this episode of Practical HR Tips for Managers, tell us that managers are sometimes reluctant to act because they aren’t sure how to respond to an employee complaint. Once an employee begins using phrases such as “hostile work environment” or alleging discrimination, managers may fear that they will make the wrong move. But as our guests point out, failure to act is often the riskiest move of all.  

According to the SHRM How-To Guide: How to Conduct an Investigation, an employer should take immediate steps to halt alleged misconduct and investigate both formal and informal complaints. Failing to investigate leaves your organization vulnerable to claims that the harassment or discrimination was allowed to continue. Additionally, if a complaining employee is later terminated for bad performance, the lack of investigation and record-keeping can be used to support a claim of retaliation.


How to Prepare Your Managers to Handle HR-related Employee Complaints

To make sure your managers are aware of their responsibilities and feel confident about what to do, our eESI experts recommend that employers maintain an up-to-date policy manual and provide their managers with ongoing training.  In our podcast, Why You Need Online Training with Steve McCready, we explain how eESI can help you provide your managers and staff with the training they need.

As Bassey and Saenz explain in this podcast episode, the experts at eESI can help you create your policy manual and implement management procedures, too.

When it comes to providing your managers with the tools they need, eESI is here for you. We’re by your side and prepared to help with the information, advice, and resources you need to get the job done right.  Click here to receive a free ‘Anti-Discrimination’ checklist for managers; it can help you begin setting up an effective training program.