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Can I choose not to disclose information such as names and details of past incidents to HR?

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Dilpreet Kaur


( 7 months ago )


I had gone to a supervisor in the past to disclose that inappropriate behavior in the workplace was happening. I viewed this behavior as harassment, such as a coworker rating women's attractiveness, sharing sexually explicit content, and asking inappropriate questions. I had also brought to the attention of the same supervisor that a coworker had referred to another coworker as a racial slur. At the time, nothing happened from these incidents, and I believe it may be because this supervisor is close with the people who said and did these things.

Recently, I approached both of my supervisors to talk with them about my experience in the branch and how I felt there was a hostile culture here. I also voiced that I didn't feel like I was being heard, because I had gone to a supervisor with these claims, and they had essentially been ignored, making me feel like the claims weren't valid.

Since then, I have been brought in to speak with my supervisor's supervisor. She wanted to know the names and details of these events. I described the events, but was hesitant to give details since these events have happened over the span of the past year. I did not see how disclosing the names of individuals in such a manner, especially if I had to work with these people still, would benefit me.

I have just received a call from the HR office essentially telling me that I must meet with them, and if I don't wish to, then can get an order from the director of our organization forcing me to. They said how I choose to conduct myself in the interview is my choice.

I'm concerned since these incidents happened in the past that disclosing names to HR is only going to make things worse for me. What would be the potential repercussions of not disclosing certain names and details?

Edit: when I spoke with the second supervisor, I explained the scenarios of what had happened, and told her that I didn't want to name the persons involved because the issues had happened in the past. She pressed me for the names but I repeated that i felt uncomfortable naming names at that point.

Sarah Jones


( 7 months ago )

What would be the potential repercussions of not disclosing certain names and details?

Well, I am a bit confused. Why would you report the incident in first place, if you now don't want to see it through?

To be honest is a bit curious that you are now unwilling to say the names, and perhaps that is why HR is getting worried and acting this way, as they might suspect you may be a victim of coercion from those coworkers.

Anyways, that may not be true. However, the main issue here is the possible consequences of not cooperating, and I think that at this point it is of your best interest to cooperate fully with them.

Not cooperating now, besides being suspicious and possibly indicate other things like coercion, may have negative consequences for you. I am not a lawyer, nor from your HR dept., but this surely can be interpreted as you cooperating or covering for those offenders, willingly or not, as you are hampering an official investigation.

As a side note, for future reference, if you ever want to report inappropriate behavior or similar, be prepared to commit fully to it. Either report and be 100% clear, or don't do it at all; leaving things halfway done is never right, even less in situations like this when actions and attitudes like that can be easily misinterpreted.

what's your interest