Harassment and discrimination complaints are an ongoing, though unfortunate part of everyday life for Human Resource departments at all Universities.
HR departments must follow strict procedures to comply with regulations, protect individuals and maintain relevant documentation. This is particularly true in the case of complaints. Any individual who believes they have been the subject of discrimination or harassment, or who suspects it to have occurred, can file a complaint. Regardless of circumstances, HR must systematically follow up every such case.
As soon as a complaint is filed, the HR department needs to take prescribed steps, including reviewing documents, talking to witnesses, and holding discussions with the accused person, so that the complained can either be moved forward to formal investigation, or dropped. Despite the outcome, HR must keep all documentation related to the case, and must maintain confidentiality.
With so much riding on the outcome, it’s essential for HR departments to be sure that every part of the complaints process has been undertaken correctly. Our University customers tell us that it’s impossible to track these issues using spreadsheets or low-tech/no tech methods.
This is where Issuetrak software comes in. When a claim is made, the case is entered into the system, which creates an issue and categorizes the type of alleged violation. HR can also add additional instructions, notes or documentation such as witness contact details or evidence. Issuetrak allows the case to be automatically queued for assignment or personally assigned by management to an HR team member.
During investigation of the complaint, the team members are able to add notes, attach pertinent documents, and enter witness testimonies. If the claim is not warranted, the issue can be closed. If it is valid, all evidence to the case is available from one source for counsel and attorneys. To maintain confidentiality, the Issuetrak software incorporates a specific security setup feature that limits ability to view the issue to relevant team members only.
Unresolved complaints are highlighted on the dashboard so that managers are aware of all outstanding claims. The software provides managers with comprehensive reporting, including the number of hours spent on each open case, the types of complaints being handled, and the amount of time each team member spends completing their assigned work. This allows managers to identify and resolve any recurring issues, and improve resource allocation.
The University’s HR department tells us that it’s a great relief to know there is no danger of issues or procedures falling through the cracks, especially in matters of such sensitivity. While it’s a pity that issues like these arise in the first place, it’s good for both victims and HR departments to know how their case is progressing at any stage of the process.