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  Oracle Tips by Burleson

Treat Complainants with Care

IT employees have protected rights to complain about or report discrimination, harassment, or any other unlawful acts in the workplace. Even before such a complaint is filed, all IT managers should be knowledgeable of related laws that provide protections, and the reactionary behaviors that managers should not engage in. Any actions taken by the manager, intentional or otherwise, which appear to be punishment or retaliation for an employee filing a complaint will provide the complainant with justification for a retaliation lawsuit.

Retaliation charges may be made even if the initial complaint is found to be not true as long as the complainant can prove that they were negatively impacted. Employees who participate in the investigation of a complaint such as making a witness statement are also protected. Therefore, employers should not take wrongful action against IT employees who assist in investigations. For example, if an employee has been verbally harassing another employee and it is witnessed by a third employee, then the witness is free to provide statements to investigating governmental agencies without fear of retaliation.

There are many actions that could be considered retaliatory including poor and unfair treatment, unreasonable and unethical assignments, poor performance appraisals that are unfounded, demotions, transfers to undesirable job positions, and so forth.

The employer should address workplace complaints by focusing on the person responsible for the actions in the complaint, rather than taking actions that adversely affect the complainant or any other individuals assisting in the case. 

The complainant should be assured by the employer that the complaint is taken seriously, a full investigation will be performed and held in confidence within the investigation, and the complainant will be regularly updated during the process.

The above book excerpt is from:

You're Fired! Firing Computer Professionals

The IT manager Guide for Terminating "With Cause"

ISBN 0-9744486-4-8

Robert Papaj 


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