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A hostile work environment and the importance of training supervisors

A hostile work environment is brought on by harassment in several divisions. The hostile environment may also occur from the victim's interactions with undesirable customers, coworkers, bosses, and anyone else (Einarsen et al., 2010). The majority of the time, the unwelcome behaviors make the workplace environment disagreeable and intimidating. Being a supervisor is not something to be taken lightly because they are one of the key players in preventing and eradicating workplace harassment. The purpose of training supervisors on the effective ways to handle harassment is to ensure that the complaints raised by employees are well tackled (Fair & Manner, 2013). If not dealt with the complaints can lead to costly legal battles as well as workplace tension. Additionally, when the complaints are mishandled due to lack of the required skills, the employer or the organization can unwittingly put itself out of business. The second purpose of the training is to offer awareness to the workers of various activities that the organization does not consider professionally acceptable at the work place.

Objectives of training supervisors

The primary objective of training the supervisors is to ensure that they understand the unique strategies for dealing with harassment issues in their organizations. This helps in reducing the chances of lawsuits while still improving the employee relations within the process (Salin, 2008). Another objective is to provide the supervisors with a comprehensive overview of the personal, practical as well as legal issue surrounding the subject of workplace harassment. The training is also essential as it offers harassment prevention strategies.

Ways of handling harassment in different departments

There are different ways of dealing with harassment in various departments. The supervisor or the manager must always avoid handling the issue as a single person. This rule maintains that the Human resource department has to be included in the process (Fair & Manner, 2013). One of the primary ways of dealing with harassment in a department is to always look for contradictions or corroborations. In most cases, complaints related to harassment offer the classic example of "he said, she said." Both the accuser and the accused maintain different versions of the incident leaving the supervisor with conflicting stories. The supervisor is therefore required to use other sources for clues. For instance, the supervisor can make use of time cards as well as attendance records for meetings or training which may help in determining whether the parties involved were where they claimed to be. The supervisor can also hire experienced investigators, mainly when the accused is among the high-ranking officials within the organization.

The second way to handle harassment is to keep the complaints confidential. Research has indicated that harassment complaints can polarize a working place (Bowling & Beehr, 2006). In most cases, employees will side with either the complaining party or the accused party. When too many details concerning the complaint are leaked, the supervisor can be charged with tarnishing the reputation of the victim or the harasser and can end up being slapped with a defamation lawsuit. To avoid the problems, it is always advisable to insist on confidentiality and to practice it during the investigation.

Additionally, the supervisor is supposed to take the appropriate actions against the wrongdoers. When there is enough evidence that harassment occurred in a certain department, the people involved should be well disciplined. The punishments can involve termination as well as different lesser disciplines like counseling or warnings. However, the lesser punishments are only in order when the harassment occurs as a result of a misunderstanding such as a blundered attempt to ask an employee on a date.

Another way of handling harassment in various departments is to avoid retaliating. The law maintains that no single person is to be punished for rising complaints about any form of harassment (Salin, 2008).The main forms of retaliation to be avoided by supervisors include demotions, termination, discipline, pay cuts as well as any other threat to do any of these things. The supervisors should avoid changing the accuser's working area or shifting their working hours. The accusers should be treated with dignity and respect and supervisors should understand that the complaining person is the victim but not the cause of the problem.

Supervisors can also handle harassment through effectively interviewing the parties involved (Bowling & Beehr, 2006). The first step involves talking to the complainant with aims of understanding the basic concerns. The supervisor should always strive to get the minor details concerning what was done or said, where, when as well as who else was present at that time. Secondly, the manager should interview the employee accused of harassment and any witness who may have heard or seen the problematic conduct. The details help in deciding on whether or not to take actions on the parties involved. Moreover, the supervisor should follow the established rules, procedures as well as the documented policies relating to harassment. It is also advisable to avoid opening up to claims of unfair treatments through bending the rules and regulations.


In conclusion, it is clear from the above discussion that training supervisors on matters related to harassment is necessary for the growth of an organization. Secondly, it is evident that supervisors can use different ways to handle harassment which include having expert interviews, involving various departments, and keeping the complaint confidential.


Bowling, N. A., & Beehr, T. A. (2006). Workplace harassment from the victim's perspective: a theoretical model and meta-analysis.

Einarsen, S., Hoel, H., Zapf, D., & Cooper, C. (Eds.). (2010). Bullying and harassment in the workplace: Developments in theory, research, and practice. Crc Press.

Fair, S. A. T. I. A., & Manner, R. (2013). Workplace bullying and harassment. POLICY, 4, 00.

Salin, D. (2008). The prevention of workplace bullying as a question of human resource management: Measures adopted and underlying organizational factors. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 24(3), 221-231.

March 02, 2023

Business Economics

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Customer Workplace Employee

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