Case Study: Hostile Working Environment

  1. Identify and describe the problem(s) in the case study as you see them.

The first problem that I see is the potential case of sexual harassment that has been committed at the workplace, particularly that involving employees Yvonne and Jerrick. The second problem is the lack of proper resolution made by the HR Management prior to Yvonne’s case, which was another case of sexual harassment complaint against the same employee (Jerrick), and then resulted to a repeated scenario not only for Yvonne, but also eight (8) other employees. The third problem is the dismissive actions of the other victims who chose to keep the situation to themselves, as they see Jerrick as “harmless”. This reflects badly to the HR Management of the company because it will look like negligence in their part to educate well the employees about the policies and respective disciplinary actions on sexual harassment at work, such that assertiveness will be instilled on them when caught in similar situation. The fourth problem I see is the possibility of cultural difference that might result to misunderstandings, if Jerrick (a Jamaican) has been really misunderstood in this situation.

  1. Is there any additional information you would have attempted to obtain from any other the individuals involved (directly or indirectly) in the incident? Why or Why not?

I think it would be necessary to investigate Jerrick’s background even before his first incidence of sexual harassment, if he did commit similar acts before working in Wheels. This will give more light to his character and the possibility of being a sexual predator at work.

  1. What, if anything, would you report to Anne since she asked about the case? When would you report anything to Anne?

I will tell her some details of the on-going investigation, but all detailed information shall be divulged only after the case has been settled and concluded.

  1. Outline the steps you would have followed if you had been leading the investigation.
  • Investigate background of involved entities before and after being hired in the company.
  • Talk openly with involved entities individually to have a clear overview of how the story unfurled in each side.
  • Allow involved entities to not clock from work to avoid any gossips or chain of story-making which can muddle the whole truth of the story, and further aggravate the situation of the involved parties.
  • Provide psychological assistance to involved parties, especially victims.
  • Upon conclusion of the case, review policies about workplace bullying and sexual harassment, and make necessary improvements. The organizational culture and management must be also evaluated to ensure that fairness and equality are maintained in the workplace, regardless of gender, race, religion, etc. (Deora, 2016).
  • Train and educate employees about workplace rules and policies on workplace bullying and sexual harassment, and empower them to be assertive of their rights (Jiang, et. al, 2015).
  1. List four (4) parts of this case that are the most critical in the decision making process.
  • The first is there are always several sides of the story; hence the HR management has their work cut out for them. Sexual harassment and bullying can erode one’s ability to function and perform, and cause alienation of the victims from the rest of the world, with the sexual harassment more destructive than bullying (Gruber & Fineran, 2016).
  • The second most important part of the case is the nature of bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace. These things arise if the culture and environment in the office has traditional sexist views (Boland, 2005), such as women should not work or get a high position at work, men are always the sexual predators (Cook & Hodo, 2013), women cannot abuse men (Russell & Oswald, 2016), etc.
  • The third most crucial part of this case is that the management should assess regularly if everyone in the office upholds organizational culture where everyone is respected and treated with fairness regardless of social, political, and gender differences (Jiang, et. al, 2015). This also means that education on diversity of culture, especially if there are foreign employees, shall be provided to all to avoid future misunderstandings.
  • The fourth is the importance of having a strong and assertive policies and standard protocols for similar cases such that the reputation and well-being of the victims are protected and improved post-case, the culprit is given the appropriate sanctions, and the workplace environment is further strengthened such that potential perpetrators will be discouraged and victims will be empowered to become more assertive.