Leader: procedure in cases of harassment
It is the leader’s responsibility to deal with any such matter immediately. The leader has both a duty of care and a duty to take action.
It is important to act promptly and diplomatically after learning of matters of this nature. A leader must show respect for both parties, so that both versions of events are heard.
These matters are often difficult to tackle because of their sensitive nature. You are therefore advised to make use of the leader support offered by the university.
The leader shall ensure that the harassment ceases. This may be achieved by making changes in the relationship and context in which the harassment occurs, for example by arranging a change of supervisor or by offering a home office or another office for a period to one party or the other. It is important to set aside time to talk to the individuals.
The leader should also inform the person who has been subjected to harassment of the option of having a confidential talk with the health personnel at the Occupational Health Service or with SiO’s Student Counselling (sio.no).
Dealing with the matter
In order to deal with the matter, it is important that it be thoroughly investigated. This includes:
- Promptly calling in the person who feels harassed for a talk. They can of course have someone with them.
- Discussing the matter with the person accused of the harassment. The person accused shall be informed of his or her right to be accompanied by a third party, see the Public Administration Act (pdf).
As soon as the leader learns of the matter a case must be opened in ePhorte. All meetings and proceedings in the case must be documented. All information about what is done, follow-up measures and the minutes of meetings must be taken down in writing and appended to the case. This is important in case the matter develops into a disciplinary case. Cases of this type are naturally subject to confidentiality (cf. Section 13 of the Freedom of Information Act and Section 13 of the Public Administration Act (pdf)). Note, however, that as an affected party the accused is entitled to disclosure if it should become a disciplinary case.
Since matters of this nature may prove particularly challenging for a leader, it may be important to seek advice and support. You may contact: