A harassment officer – sometimes known as a contact officer, equal opportunity officer or equity contact officer – is a staff member who assists employees who experience discrimination and harassment in the workplace.
The contact person should:
- listen to an employee’s concerns about discrimination or harassment
- not form a view of the merit of any allegations
- provide information about the internal complaint process
- advise the person that in some situations where serious allegations are raised – for example, that may expose the organisation to legal liability – the issue may need to be reported to management and dealt with as a formal complaint
- where appropriate, provide support for a person if he or she wants to try and resolve the issue personally
- provide information about available support services; for example, workplace counselling services
- outline other options available to the person, such as lodging a complaint of discrimination or harassment with an external agency.
The contact person should not be the same person who is responsible for investigating or making decisions about a complaint.
The company contact officer can help to facilitate the process of making an internal complaint of discrimination or harassment. This may help to avoid complaints to external agencies and/or legal action.