How many of you have recently been through a “full blown” investigation into workplace harassment only to find that both parties are going to have to return to work and may even have to work together?
This is the reality of many unionized workplaces where termination is simply not an option except in the most serious of cases. Frequently, investigations result in a finding that no one party was completely at fault or that a good part of the problem was poor communication on the part of both parties.
At the end of the day, the investigation has polarized the workplace. Now the parties are preparing to return to work. Everyone is tense and you just know that it as a “set-up” for more problems. As an HR manager or the person who will have to deal with the “fall-out which is sure to come” – what can you do?
I have found that setting up a mediation between the Complainant and the Respondent offers one of the best chances at getting a fresh start. If the parties to the Compliant can return to the workplace, having “made peace” or at least have a plan for how to manage their relationship going forward, things are much more likely to go well. If the parties return to work in the right frame of mind, the polarization of the workplace also dissipates quickly. People don’t need allies so much if they are not at war.