Informal complaints can be made if there is a general concern about the workplace environment or in cases where you feel that the matter might be resolved through means such as education about workplace sexual harassment or discussions between the parties with or without the help of a mediator.
When an informal complaint is made the name of the person making the complaint does not need to be disclosed to the alleged harasser.
If you are experiencing sexual harassment at work, your policy may indicate that the first step is to ask the other person to stop the unwelcome behaviour. This may not always be appropriate, and workers can ask for assistance and support in this regard. Employers and supervisors can intervene on your behalf to advise the other party that the offensive behaviour must stop.
If you have general concerns about your work environment, your employer may offer to provide educational workshops about the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace or review existing policies with workers.
When informal complaints are received, supervisors may discuss the matter with the parties separately or, if both parties agree, arrange for the parties to meet and discuss the issues with the help of a third-party mediator. Mediators are trained to facilitate discussions to help parties resolve their issues. They are impartial, meaning they will not side with one party over the other. Their role is to help ensure both parties have an opportunity to be heard and to help the parties reach an agreement that addresses the matter.
Informal complaints do not require an investigation. The alleged harasser does not need to make an admission of guilt. Your Harassment Prevention Policy should explain that informal complaints are not recorded and will not appear on either party’s personnel file.
This site provides general information about workplace sexual harassment only. It is not a substitute for receiving legal advice about your situation. Apply now to receive 4 hours of free legal advice.