If you experience sexual harassment

​We need to put an end to the culture of silence and create a transparent, open Chalmers where all students and staff feel completely safe and secure enough to be 100% themselves. This is the message from Chalmers' management and the Student Union. If you experience sexual or any other form of harassment, it is important that you know who to turn to and what support is available.

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Chalmers HR Manager Lisskulla Lindström answers a few questions about what you as a staff member should do if you experience sexual harassment, what support is available, and how Chalmers is working to follow up on and ultimately prevent harassment.

What is the first thing I should do if I experience sexual harassment?
Do not wait to tell someone about it! It is important for all harassment to be investigated as quickly as possible. Talk to your manager or another person in a managerial role who you trust. The HR department also has clear employer responsibility in matters of harassment.
If that does not help – who should I turn to?
If the matter is not taken seriously, those of us serving in management for Chalmers as a whole need to be informed so we can take action. In such cases, as HR Manager I can be a contact person and get the necessary individuals involved as we move forward. We are required by law to investigate and, if possible, resolve all cases of discrimination and victimising treatment.

What is the next step? The harasser probably does not see things the same way.
An investigation must always be conducted. This is done by the relevant manager. Support and advice are available from the HR department and other areas. An investigation will always talk to the parties involved to assess the situation.

Who makes a formal complaint, if one is made?
The first step in a report is made by the manager or another person the victim talked to.

What about confidentiality – will everything I say become public record if there is a formal complaint?
We are currently reviewing our guidelines and regulations. We have also noted that some documents need to be reviewed. We want to make it clear that it is already acceptable for managers and others who receive such information to fill in an incident report that only provides a rough description of what happened. Name and other personal details do not have to be included. The incident report becomes a registered document. The same applies to the decision made on the case after it has been investigated. We do this to monitor our situation and get an overview of potential areas of ill health and our working environment.

What responsibility does the manager have in preventive work?
As managers, we are hugely responsible for what goes on in the workplace. In any case of doubt, we can contact the HR department and others for advice and support. We also currently provide compressed information to all managers as regards harassment cases, and a lot of information is already available on Insidan. This data must be used and communicated throughout our entire organisation. We will also regularly follow up on how things are going and what needs to be addressed.

What is your message to victims of sexual harassment?
We take you seriously. Do not keep the information to yourself – we must be given the opportunity to take action to address all types of harassment. If we do not know who is exhibiting unhealthy behaviour, then the harassment can continue. Next time, there may be a different victim. We all share the responsibility of ensuring that Chalmers becomes an open university where we feel safe and care about each other.

More information on Insidan

Published: Wed 13 Dec 2017.