Informal Complaint or Advice Mechanisms
last updated November 1, 2003

The organization should also consider establishing more informal complaint or advice mechanisms such as the following: 

  • an informational telephone line which employees can use to discuss questions or concerns about harassment on an anonymous basis to be manned by an advisor trained to explain what courses of action are available to employees; and
  • a mediation system through which mediators can work to find a solution to a complaint of sexual harassment that is acceptable to the complainant and the alleged harasser.

Mediation can be a good option when the parties concerned are peers in the organization and have no power over one another or when the nature of harassment is not severe.

The organization should recommend that victims of sexual harassment at the hands of a supervisor or victims of the most egregious forms of sexual harassment, e.g. sexual advances or touching, use formal complaint mechanisms rather than informal mechanisms because strong corrective action by management would likely be a more appropriate remedy than a mediated solution.

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.