Dealing with Sexual Harassment Investigations

15 April 2019

Steps was delighted to be asked to co-develop and deliver an interactive workshop on Sexual Harassment Investigations with membership network City HR, and law firms Kemp Little and Fox Williams.

With the FCA now recognising harassment as misconduct (FCA Letter to the Chair Women and Equalities Committee 28.09.18), understandably there is a degree of nervousness within the financial services sector as people try to understand and navigate sexual harassment investigations against a largely uncharted backdrop. What does this change mean – and what are the implications for HR, for businesses, and for the individuals involved when an allegation is raised and investigated?

Using a powerful combination of experiential scenarios, alongside legal and theoretical content – this session explored the mechanics of sexual harassment reporting and the people management processes that form part of this challenging and complex process. The case-study scenario provided a highly practical opportunity to apply best practice management skills as well as building an understanding of the behavioural nuances that investigating parties will need to be mindful of.

Attended by HR representatives from over 50 financial services firms, the session was lively and interactive – generating great discussion amongst participants. Though a legal framework underpins the investigation process, clearly individuals must also apply their own judgement, as well as their own personal management and communication style – and the differences of opinion within the room made for thought-provoking conversation and genuine debate on the topic.

We are very proud of our work in enabling honest conversations to happen on these kinds of sensitive issues. In our view – developing a culture of inclusion where individuals feel respected and empowered is a hugely positive step forwards in terms of eradicating instances of harassment – and equipping your people to recognise harassment and feel confident and capable of reporting it is an essential part of this. We’ve been at the table from the start with many organisations who are beginning to find their way on this journey, which is always a mutual benefit, helping them to consider and explore inclusive behaviours well before the need for disciplinary procedures or legal investigations. As #metoo continues to feature in headlines and shape priorities as a key part of the inclusion agenda, never before has it been more important for businesses to invest in their people in this way.

You can read more about our approach to Diversity & Inclusion here. We also work with firms to address some of these issues as part of their commitment to organisational Values and Ethics. And finally, if you’re facing a challenge within your organisation why not contact us – we’d love to help if we can!

Meet the Author