Emotionally Intelligent leadership is an important determinant of success in business: higher productivity, better customer satisfaction, retention of employees, lower rates of accidents, absenteeism and grievances and improved team functioning.

Re-Sources Organizational Support Newsletter

Example #5 – Sexual Harassment

On-site counsellor helps employee and organization with sexual harassment issues.

An employee seen previously in counselling with the Source Line Counsellor returned because she was extremely upset by the way a male co-worker had been treating her. She complained that he had made comments about her breasts, and made sexual gestures. She was very upset by his unwelcome behaviour. She was also skeptical that her supervisor or Human Resources would do anything about this co-worker's behaviour.

With encouragement from the counsellor, she registered her complaints in the appropriate manner. Human Resources, her supervisor and her union steward were part of the interview. Following her complaint two other female employees came forward to make separate complaints about sexually inappropriate behaviour of the same male co-worker.

While the Human Resources representative completed the investigation, the counsellor supported the employee in counselling. The complaints by three individuals were substantial enough for the company to be vulnerable to a Human Rights Code violation. If not dealt with adequately, the company and the union would potentially be vulnerable to an expensive and time-consuming lawsuit.

The Source Line counsellor/consultant role was both to help support the employee with asserting herself to expect respectful treatment in the workplace and also to help the company though the H.R. staff complete a fair, thorough and sensitive investigation. While there had not been many investigations in the company's history, the company had a good written Harassment policy to follow. To counteract the gossip about the investigation, the counsellor/consultant encouraged the H.R. staff to complete the investigation in a timely manner, document in writing the findings and suggested how to communicate the information to the complainants and the accused.

The investigation concluded that there was enough information/evidence to suggest the employee's behaviour was unwelcome and inappropriate to the workplace. The offending employee was sent for counselling to assist him in understanding the consequences of his behaviour and prevent further occurrences.

Shortly after this investigation was complete, more complaints began to be made on other employees and more investigations completed. As a preventive proactive measure, Source Line provided training on Respectful Workplace to all Human Resources staff, supervisors and employees.