In December, Facebook publicly released its internal company policy on harassment in the hopes that other companies would be able to learn from them. The idea, according to two executives of the corporation, is that if “more companies are open about their policies,” more will be able to learn from each other.
In Facebook’s policy, employees are able to report incidents of harassment via HR, Facebook’s employment law team or a whistleblower hotline. Managers in the company must report all violations as well as suspected violations, and if they fail to report such violations in a timely manner, they will be subject to discipline.
After the employee files a complaint, investigators from the company will connect with that employee to schedule a meeting. Two team members then meet with that employee during the investigation, one taking notes and the other asking questions. There are five possible results of the investigation: termination, education, counseling, warning and no action — harassers could be subject to any combination of these results.
Other takeaways from Facebook’s policies are that “I didn’t mean it like that” or “I was joking” are not valid defenses to harassment allegations, nor is being under the influence of any type of substance.
While Facebook’s policy itself is not anything groundbreaking in itself, the fact that the company was proactive about sharing the policy publicly with the goal of starting a conversation among business owners could become quite influential. People can now look at the policy used by one of the country’s largest and most successful businesses and take guidance from it when developing policies for their companies.
For further information on about your legal options if you have been the victim of harassment in the workplace, speak with a skilled Dallas attorney at Whistleblower Law for Managers.