I need some advice. I got a phone call from a colleague - Barb - who is an HR Manager at a 200 person consulting firm. She wanted some advice. It seems one of the Administrative Assistants at the firm had come into her office with a complaint -we'll call her Leah. Leah was upset because one of the Directors she reported to apparently had a habit of "scratching himself" whenever he was standing by her desk talking to her. Leah wanted to know if she could report him for sexual harassment.
Barb wanted to know two things:
- First, is this really an HR issue?
- Second, if it is, what should she do?
Folks, I must admit, I am a bit stumped by this one. Is this an HR issue, or is it a communication issue between two co-workers? Because there is a power differential involved (he is the boss) I believe Leah does need to be guaranteed that there is a confidential and safe place she can raise the issue. HR tends to be that place. So if HR takes it on, how do we go about it? Is this sexual harassment? Does the Director simply have a mindless habit that he does regardless of who he is with? Or is his scratching targeted towards Leah? How would I find that out?
What do you think?