Fran's Blog

Investigating Further


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Diversity training is a multimillion-dollar industry. There is no doubt a place for educating employers and employees about the challenges of our increasingly

Part of being a good investigator is simply being a good listener. Being open, receptive, encouraging and nonjudgmental goes a long way towards getting

It is widely assumed that when an investigation finds evidence of misconduct that a termination of the “bad actor’s” employment frequently follows. While

I recently enjoyed participating in “Disrupt HR MSP,” a spirited event in which speakers are challenged to present disruptive ideas, using 20 slides and five minutes. It was a challenge, and oh, so fun.

  I did a presentation last week called “Why Everything you are Doing About Harassment is Wrong.” My slide deck was due to the organizers …

I’m always hearing long stories about the executive I’ve been asked to coach, the leader of a team I’ve been asked to work with, or the Individual Contributor that is causing people to leave. These stories may involve aggressive personalities, immaturity, disruptive communication styles, and social cluelessness. Usually, about at the point where the HR person or attorney is telling me how this person went off the rails, I’ll hear that they tried to explain to the complainant, “That’s just… (insert name here.)”

I have had the opportunity to testify before the EEOC Select Task Force on Harassment, and to testify when Co-Chairs Chai Feldblum and Victoria Lipnic presented its report to the full EEOC.  Additionally, I continue to work with the EEOC to discuss training for bystanders.  If you have not had an opportunity to read the report, it is attached here, and provides an excellent blueprint for improving the prevention and management of workplace harassment.

I’ve been a workplace investigator and anti-harassment educator for thirty years. I am known for my apolitical, pragmatic approach to helping people understand the value of civil workplace conduct and to get them there without shame or blame. I have always said that we should recognize that any of us are capable of offending others, and we should have humility enough to take feedback well. In other words, I don’t suggest for a moment that women are singularly vulnerable or that all harassment is intentional. Nevertheless, the vigorous defense of Fox Chief Roger Ailes, and ridiculous suggestions that women who are harassed are either at fault or weak calls for an immediate response.

Several years ago, I was visiting some students in a college residence hall.  One sat at her desk drinking a beer. Surprised,  I asked if beer was allowed in the residence hall, and she stated it indeed was, for students over 21.  She noted that she, however, was only 19 and had been cited the previous week for underage drinking.  She reported that she was at her desk taking the online training course on alcohol use that assigned by the college to first offenders.  I had my doubts about the effectiveness of that training.

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