It is widely assumed that when an investigation finds evidence of misconduct that a termination of the “bad actor’s” employment frequently follows. While no hard data is available on the subject, an educated guess based on data that is available suggests that a person found to have violated a harassment policy will more often be disciplined and educated or coached. This is particularly true when the alleged harasser is in a leadership role or brings highly valued skills or knowledge to the organization.
The tendency to retain “good employees with bad judgement” seems to be a reflection of the fact that harassment complaints about such employees tend to involve ongoing conduct of a subtle or generic nature — the “low buzz” of insensitivity coupled with relationship. personality and style issues — rather than the “explosion” of explicit and outrageous conduct. While the latter type of conduct will guide an organization to seriously consider terminating even a highly valued leader or “rainmaker,”, the former is likely to result in the organization attempting to salvage the talents, experience and skills of an otherwise valued employee. This is perhaps in part due to the fact that the organization may have had a significant role in allowing the behaviors, style and relationship issues to develop in the first place! Read the rest of this entry »