OK.thanks, Theresa. This makes sense. I can see where if you deal with complaints in a regular process, and document them, it makes for good protection. Two more comments on the hypothetical, though, one about confidentiality, and one about trust.
1.Confidentiality – I assume when you have a grievance procedure, and use it, that the actual information you gather (such as who you interviewed, what they said, other names that came up, will be kept confidential. In other words, the person complaining is not allowed to see your notes, or discuss with you what the accused said?
2.In a perfect world, people see leadership as benevolent, compassionate, trustworthy (don’t laugh! I am going somewhere with this!). However, the reality is that we each project our own issues about authority on those who lead us, and this goes both good and bad ways. People may have many trust issues about a leader or supervisor, especially if they have a historical perspective of that person not treating them they way they felt was right. A delicate balancing needs to take place. While the leader may not be able to give the complainer much in terms of data about other employees, the leader needs to at least communicate that the process was started, etc. Any ideas about how best to communicate back to the complainer? Before you move on with your other 37 responses?
Disclaimer: not official legal or psychological advice or opinion