After handling a complaint - Handling bullying and discrimination

After handling a complaint

As an employer or manager, once you have an outcome for a bullying or discrimination complaint, you should:

  • keep a record of the complaint, any investigation findings, any steps that were taken and the outcome
  • keep an eye on the issue
  • take steps to prevent similar issues happening again

Keep a record

For all complaints, you should keep a record of:

  • the complaint
  • any evidence you've found
  • any steps you've taken to deal with it
  • whether the complaint was upheld or not, and the reasons why
  • how it was resolved, if that was possible

If you handled the complaint formally, you should also keep a record of:

  • any investigation findings
  • the complaint hearing
  • any appeal, including the appeal hearing
  • if the complaint resulted in a disciplinary procedure, and any disciplinary action

Records will be useful if:

  • the same issue comes up again
  • an issue raised informally is raised formally later on
  • an employee decides to make a claim to an employment tribunal

Keep an eye on the issue

You should make sure:

  • that the actions taken have been effective
  • nobody is treated unfairly or less favourably as a result of being involved with the complaint

If someone is treated less favourably because they were involved with a discrimination complaint, this is a type of discrimination called victimisation.

Preventing bullying and discrimination

It's important to try to prevent bullying and discrimination happening in the future.

Depending on your findings from looking into a complaint, you might also decide to address a specific issue.

For example, you might decide to:

  • train line managers on a specific issue, for example sexual harassment or unconscious bias
  • train all staff on a specific issue and what to do if they experience or witness unacceptable behaviour
  • review your organisation's policies, for example your policy on bullying and harassment
  • make it clear to employees what support is available if they experience or see unacceptable behaviour at work

Find out more about:

If there's legal action

An employee might be able to make a claim to an employment tribunal if they believe they've been discriminated against.

If this happens, the employment tribunal would consider:

  • how it's affected the employee
  • what you've done to address their complaint
  • what actions you took to prevent discrimination happening in the first place

If an employee makes a claim to an employment tribunal, you should consider getting legal advice.

Bullying in itself cannot be a claim to an employment tribunal. But it could still lead to other legal issues. For example, severe bullying might contribute towards constructive dismissal.

It might also be constructive dismissal if someone leaves their job because of discrimination you did not deal with.

Contact the Acas helpline

For more advice about your options, you can contact the Acas helpline.

Last reviewed