Complaint Procedures
last updated November 1, 2003

The organization should encourage employees to report instances of sexual harassment. A person making a complaint of sexual harassment should be encouraged to make this complaint with a member of the complaints committee or to the designated complaints officer within a short period of time from the date of occurrence of the alleged incident so that the organization may take immediate preventative and remedial action. The complainant should include details of the alleged sexual harassment including the name of the harasser. The complaints committee or officer should investigate a complaint whether or not it complies with a requested format or is made in writing. If there is a complaints committee established, measures may be taken to protect the identity of the complainant when the complaint is discussed by the committee as a whole. The application of the complaint procedure should be neutral and consistent.

The sexual harassment policy and the complaints committee or officer at the time of complaint should notify employees that, depending on the circumstances, they may have the right to press separate criminal and/or civil charges against the alleged harasser and should provide information about the time frames for filing criminal or civil charges of unlawful harassment.

The management of the organization should consider granting additional sick leave in cases of sexual harassment where the employee on medical advice requires trauma counseling.

Please note that these recommendations must be revised to reflect applicable national and local law before they could be implemented by an employer.

Adapted from EU Code of Practice on Measures to Combat Sexual Harassment included in Commission Recommendation of 27 November 1991 on the protection of the dignity of women and men at work, Official Journal L 049, 1-8 (24 February 1992); EEOC Enforcement Guidance: Vicarious Employer Liability for Unlawful Harassment by supervisors No. 915.002, 11-18 (June 18, 1999); Indian National Commission for Women, Code of Conduct for Workplace adopted in accordance with the recent Supreme Court Judgment on "Sexual Harassment of Women at the Work Place" Vishaka & others vs. State of Rajasthan and others (AIR 1997 SC 3011); South African National Economic Development and Labour Council, Code of Good Practice on the Handling of Sexual Harassment Cases; Canadian Human Rights Commission in cooperation with Human Resources Development Canada and Status of Women, Anti-Harassment Policies for the Workplace: An Employer's Guide (December 2001); and ABA, Mark I. Schickman, Sexual Harassment: The Employer's Role in Prevention.