Third party harassment policy
Policy brief & purpose
Our third-party harassment policy aims to address employee harassment coming from people outside of our company. We won’t tolerate this kind of behavior, even if it means having awkward conversations with partners or losing business. Ensuring our employees are safe in our Volls is our first priority.
In this policy, we indicate how to recognize harassment and how to report incidents. We also explain how we investigate claims and protect victims.
This policy applies to everyone outside our company including vendors, investors, customers, contractors, shareholders and any other people we are connected to or do business with.
We aim to protect every employee, intern or volunteer regardless of level, function, seniority, status or protected characteristics like race, gender and sexual orientation.
Harassment is any kind of behavior that humiliates, victimizes or threatens a person, like directing racial slurs and making sexual advances. Even seemingly harmless actions, like a customer calling an employee constantly outside work for non-emergencies and without prior agreement, can constitute harassment. Innuendos, veiled threats and inappropriate or offensive jokes are all included in our definition.
Harassment can happen in-person, over the phone, via email or through a messaging app. It can come from strangers or people you know. Anyone who objectifies, threatens or ridicules our employees is a harasser. We will describe our rules for dealing with these behaviors.
Harassment from customers
Harassment coming from customers is often difficult to deal with. Employees might be reluctant to report customers, especially ones who are responsible for substantial revenue. This causes the customer’s behavior to go unpunished and continue.
Please don’t hesitate to report a customer (or a customer’s employee) if they behave inappropriately and make your life difficult. Reporting them means that they won’t harass you anymore and that we will also have the chance to protect other employees who would come in contact with the harasser.
Report the customer to HR via email or in-person and inform your manager of your report. If you have emails or other evidence, please attach them or bring them to HR’s office.
HR will investigate your claim and contact the customer to ask them to change their behavior. If the customer is a business, our HR will do the following:
- Contact that business’ HR department and file a complaint against the person who harassed you.
- Explicitly ask for that behavior to stop.
- Ask the customer-company to assign another person as your contact. We will push for this solution in three cases:
- If the harassment from that person has happened before to you or your colleagues.
- If the incident of harassment was severe (like a threat of violence or an explicit request for a sexual favor).
- If you tell us you don’t feel comfortable working with this person anymore.
We will also discuss possible solutions on our end. For example, we may remove you from that person’s customer account and assign you to an account of equal worth. If you needed to interact with that person in specific cases, we may assign another employee to fill in for you at those times. We will not penalize you or retaliate against you in any way. Your working hours, salary/wage or other benefits won’t be affected.
If the customer-company ignores our report, or if the incident of harassment happens again and the customer seems unwilling to deal with the person responsible, we will dissolve our contract with that customer.
If the customer is an individual, we will refuse our products/services until they correct their behavior.
Harassment from prospective customers
Salespeople and marketers interact with prospects every day. If any of these prospects harasses you:
- Drop all interactions with them (like answering calls and sending emails) and report this to your manager. If somebody harassed you via email, forward those emails to your manager and our HR department for reference.
- Leave immediately if someone harasses you at an on-site meeting. Please call your manager as soon as possible to let them know.
Your manager will make sure that your performance metrics won’t be affected due to a prospect’s inappropriate behavior. For example, you don’t have to continue speaking to a harasser so that you hit your individual targets. If a prospect’s behavior negatively affects your goals (like revenue targets), talk to your manager. They will do everything possible to resolve this issue like assigning you to other prospects or lowering your daily or weekly targets to account for the missed opportunity.
After speaking to your manager, please mark that prospect as unqualified [in our CRM system], so other employees won’t attempt to contact them later. This will help prevent other employees from being exposed to the prospect’s behavior.
Harassment from vendors and contractors
Our harassment and anti-violence policies apply to our vendors and contractors. We will communicate them in writing whenever we sign a contract with another business.
If an employee of vendor or contractor harasses you, please report directly to HR. Our HR will:
- Report the person who harassed you to the vendor’s HR department.
- Demand that either this person stops this inappropriate behavior immediately or the vendor assigns a different employee to that position, depending on the severity of the harassment.
If harassment continues after our intervention or our vendor ignores our report, we will dissolve our contract with this vendor.
Involving the police
Our company will involve the police if a harasser stalks, assaults or verbally/ physically threatens an employee. This applies to all possible third-parties from customers to investors. When harassers seem dangerous (for example, if a harasser refuses to leave the premises and threatens you with physical violence), call the police before reporting to HR.
We have an open door policy and we encourage our employees to share their concerns and thoughts with us. However, sometimes employees may not feel comfortable reporting on harassment, whether it has happened to them or a colleague. This is why we expect managers to always be alert and ready to spot harassment towards their team members.
If you suspect one of your team members is being harassed, talk to them to get more information. Assure them that they won’t be penalized for reporting harassment from any source and that our company is committed to protect them from harassment.
Inform HR of your conversation and act immediately to protect your team members (like assigning someone else to interact with the person who harassed them until HR’s investigation is complete).
Managers must also make sure their team members’ metrics won’t be affected. For example, if an outbound sales rep must do five calls per day to promote our company’s product and hangs up on a call because of the prospect’s inappropriate behavior, that call should be marked as successful. Similarly, if an employee has won a contract of $5,000, but is unable to follow through because of the prospect’s behavior, that amount will still count towards our employee’s individual targets.
When HR receives a report about third-party harassment, they must:
- Ask for as many details and information as possible from the person making the complaint.
- Keep copies of the report with dates, times and details of incidents and any possible evidence in a confidential file. HR should update this file with all future actions and conversations regarding this complaint.
- Launch an investigation. HR should always maintain professionalism when communicating with third parties, while also showing that they take the matter seriously and want to protect our employees.
- Inform the harassed employees of our company’s procedures and provide legal advice if appropriate.
- Take into account the wishes of the harassed employee. If an employee says they don’t want to interact with a harasser again, HR should consult with that employee’s manager to find a solution that won’t penalize the employee.
HR or managers must not, under any circumstances, blame the victim, conceal a report or discourage employees from reporting harassment. If HR or a manager behaves that way, please send an email to their own manager or a senior leader explaining the situation.
We welcome any feedback or complaint about our procedures and how our employees handled each case.
Helping harassment survivors
We want to support the victims of harassment. If you experience trauma, stress or other symptoms because of harassment, consider:
- [Taking a few days of sick leave to restore your mental health.]
- [Asking your insurance provider whether they cover mental health services.]
- [Talking to our EAP (Employee Assistance Program) Officer to evaluate options.]
- [Speaking to our designated counsellors.]
Your job and benefits will not be jeopardized or altered if you choose any of those options or other means of recovery.
Help us keep our Volls safe
We all work best in environments where we feel safe and happy. We can’t control the behavior of people outside of our organization, but we can act to stop it. Please let us know whenever you are being harassed or witness others being the victims of harassment, whether the perpetrator is a customer, an employee or a partner.