EOC investigations into institutionalised sexual harassment at the Royal
Mail Group (RMG) have been suspended after the organisation presented a
wide-ranging action plan to stamp out the problem.
But RMG’s director of diversity and inclusion, Satya Kartara, admitted to
employers’ Law that the plan is currently guesswork, as she does not yet
understand why the company has problems with bullying and harassment.
"The fact is, we don’t know what we are dealing with and until we do,
it would be inappropriate to set specific targets," she said.
Despite this, RMG has convinced the EOC that the plan will work. "The
action plan should lead to a culture change within the organisation, to a
situation where every member of staff understands the seriousness with which
sexual harassment is viewed and where managers will be able to deal with
complaints quickly and effectively," said EOC deputy chair Jenny Watson.
RMG will report to its group board and the EOC every quarter and there will
be annual independent reviews.
The action plan is concentrating efforts on encouraging and supporting
complainants, punishing perpetrators and generally raising awareness of the
problem through training.
Kartara has mainstreamed diversity training, set up diversity development
centres for senior managers, handpicked and trained independent investigators
from among the workforce and set up an external 24-hour confidential helpline.
She said data recorded over the next six months would be analysed to give a
clearer picture of the challenges facing the organisation, and only then would
specific targets be set.
"If we set targets now they could be unachievable, and we’d then be
setting ourselves up to fail," she said.