A trauma-informed approach to addressing workplace sexual harassment

Investigations manual

Introduction

Addressing sexual harassment in the workplace is a challenge for any organization however the challenges add up for smaller organizations who routinely face funding uncertainties, staff shortages and difficulty accessing training opportunities. Thus, responding to reports (also commonly referred to as complaints) and disclosures of sexual harassment in a trauma-informed way, adds to these existing challenges mainly because of the barriers which prevent access to subject matter experts.

With these barriers in mind, this manual intends to offer the reader a centralized opportunity to learn what a trauma-informed approach is; understand why its application is critical in responding to workplace sexual harassment; identify the unique challenges and conflicts which may surface in a small work environment when addressing workplace sexual harassment; and recognize which competencies are required for those investigating workplace sexual harassment.

This manual provides the reader with a starting place to consider all the complexities, challenges and competencies required to meaningfully and lawfully address workplace sexual harassment from disclosure to reporting to investigation to discipline, however it is only a starting point. Laws, policies and best practices are always changing to align with the times. Therefore, we caution the reader to continue in your due diligence and gather the most recent and relevant information to inform your workplace policies and procedures as they grow and adapt to meet the specific needs of your workplace environment.