Keeping the balance: danger in false reporting [and the importance of a good investigation]

The term of the finalized Contract between SickKids and the Selected Proponent(s) shall be for a period of three (3) years (“Original Term”) provided that SickKids shall have one (1) option, in its sole discretion, to extend the term for additional two (2) years and a further two (2) options to extend the term by one (1) year by providing written notice prior to the completion of the then current (“Extended Term”), and the parties shall thereafter execute an amendment to the Contract to reflect such extension of the term. The term may otherwise only be amended on mutual agreement of the parties, as reflected in a signed written amendment to the Contract

The term of the finalized Contract between SickKids and the Selected Proponent(s) shall be for a period of three (3) years (“Original Term”) provided that SickKids shall have one (1) option, in its sole discretion, to extend the term for additional two (2) years and a further two (2) options to extend the term by one (1) year by providing written notice prior to the completion of the then current (“Extended Term”), and the parties shall thereafter execute an amendment to the Contract to reflect such extension of the term. The term may otherwise only be amended on mutual agreement of the parties, as reflected in a signed written amendment to the ContractWe often associate sexual harassment with the more extreme stories that have come out of Hollywood.

But in fact, a hostile environment is more than just stories of extreme harassment and abuse. It’s an environment where sexist and joking comments are used to put the recipient down, and create an environment that makes it clear that the recipient isn’t welcome or respected.

It doesn’t have to only be sexual harassment taking place. It can just be harassing somebody and making their work environment uncomfortable based on their sex or gender.

But what about a false report? Could this happen?

Well yes, mathematically it can.

Evidence on false allegations may be a little tricky to pinpoint though.

Statistics like these tend to fall in the category of rape and sexual assault reported to the police, and typically committed by someone the victim knew.

Those statistics don't include unwanted touching by a supervisor, nor do they include the definition of a 'victim' being anybody affected by the harasser's conduct - including witnesses.

But what if there are false allegations?

The embarrassment and emotions that are attached to allegations and evidence can weaken the strongest individual.

The falsely accused individual could face negative impacts on career and reputation, resulting in possible job loss. Stress, time, and effort will take its toll. Defending against allegations can end up being a difficult and lengthy process.

However, it's important to take EVERY complaint seriously and conduct a GOOD investigation.

What might be perceived by a victim as harassment, might be perceived differently by an accuser.

For example: yelling an expletive vs. directing language at a person.

The victim may perceive a particular action by the accused as unwelcome.

The accused may not have intentionally set out to make the victim feel uncomfortable.

A good investigation should focus on resolving any issues at the lowest level and preventing them from getting out of hand.

A good investigation should accomplish the following:

  • it should send a message that management expects employees to comply with company policies relating to unacceptable conduct
  • it should result in all parties feeling that they have been treated fairly, no matter the outcome
  • it should assist in defending the organization if any employees choose to sue or file a charge

If a company doesn't investigate, it can deprive a company of a strong and needed defense to a lawsuit or charge.

It also gives employees the message that your company policies don't really mean what they say. This can result in employees hesitating from reporting any future incidents.

Harassment, whether sexual, racial, or through the abuse of authority does exist in our workplaces, more so than we’d like to admit.

Ethics reporting hotlines are an essential tool that help businesses protect employees, customers, and the organization from unethical activities.

With the growing anti-sexual harassment culture, it’s essential for companies to provide a safe and trustworthy environment, where employees feel comfortable and protected when they have information to share.

Workplace Sexual Harassment - Build an Ethical Culture Today!

photo Amanda Nieweler

Amanda Nieweler

Amanda writes for WhistleBlower Security about ethics, compliance, workplace culture, and whistleblower hotlines. Amanda brings her nearly two decades of risk and compliance experience to the WBS blog where she is dedicated to helping people and companies promote speak-up cultures.