HR folks – Have you ever had an employee tell you that he or she is being unlawfully harassed by a co-worker, but then begged you to keep the complaint confidential? Most often, employees ask their employers not to investigate their concerns because of embarrassment or fear of retribution. Employers who honor such employee confidentiality requests, however, do so at their own peril.
When an employee claims unlawful harassment, three common employer reactions may occur. First, HR will agree with an employee’s request to keep the entire complaint confidential and not investigate. Second, HR may decide to investigate anyway, but promise the employee “complete” confidentiality during the investigation. Third, if the investigation determines that the employee was unlawfully harassed, HR may decide to discipline the harasser and not notify the employee of the disciplinary decision. Are any of these decisions correct? Short answer- No. Continue Reading