A couple of months ago a colleague of mine complained about one of our managers. The manager was disciplined for the inappropriate joke that he made. My colleague left the company shortly afterwards.

Before my colleague left, she told me that the manager had said to her, on another instance, "Youd be wearing short skirts to impress me"

I had asked her to come forward about this allegation, but she never had the courage to do it.

Soon, I will be entering into an investigation against the same manager.

Can I bring this allegation to the attention of the investigator? Is it too late now that she has left?

What should I do?

  • I wasn't there when she received the comment from him, so I don't understand the full context of the statement, however, she didn't seem impressed when she was telling me about it – AK47 May 17 '18 at 8:09
  • "Soon, I will be entering into an investigation against the same manager" What is your role in the investigation? Are you being questioned for evidence, or are you the investigator? – dwizum May 17 '18 at 12:28

Tell what you know, no more, no less.

When asked, simply say the truth : " I have been told that he has made innapropriate comments to a former colleague", and quote your colleague. You do not have to give her name if she wishes to remain anonymous.

Saying more would be conjectures, and saying less would be lying by omission.

From what you know, this guy could either be a great manager who slipped once and made an very inappropriate joke, or have a habit of sexual harassment, but that is the investigator's job to find out, not you.

  • 1
    To be fair, with that quote, it is very likely that there is a lack of women in the team, making it hard keep the former colleague anonymous when quoting it. – さりげない告白 May 17 '18 at 11:02
  • How would OP respond to the inevitable follow-up: Why did you not report it then? – Daniel May 17 '18 at 11:47
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    @Daniel : because she asked OP to keep quiet. To my opinion, not reporting when asked not to is respect (within reason) and makes sense. – Sclrx May 17 '18 at 12:05
  • @Sclrx: I don´t disagree, but feel OP is in kind of a loose-loose-loose situation. Piling on now may not seem too credible. Tell it then would have seem wrong too. Saying nothing is also not the right thing ... – Daniel May 17 '18 at 12:09
  • @Daniel agreed, my proposed course of action is not "the good one", it is the "less bad" – Sclrx May 17 '18 at 12:12

The problem with harassment in the workplace is that you almost always encounter he-said-she-said situations. When you are just looking at a single incident, then you usually have a hard time to decide if there actually was harassment, if it was a misunderstanding or if the alleged perpetrator is being framed. When you are not sure who is lying and who is saying the truth, then the company has to follow the principle of In dubio pro reo. They can't punish either person.

However, when there is a documented trail of multiple allegations from many different people about misconduct by a single person, then any new allegations gain far more credibility and the "innocent person is being framed as part of personal vendetta" hypothesis becomes a lot less likely.

For that reason it is important that any allegations of harassment are being documented. In this situation the incident you reported should have very little weight because you only have a second hand account. You also don't know if it was already known when the manager was disciplined the first time. But it might still be one of the drops which cause the barrel to overflow and get the person disciplined a second time.

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