When you are confronted with any form of inappropriate behavior at work, such as bullying, sexual harassment, discrimination, or aggression then you can contact the Counselor / Vertrouwenspersoon. It’s important that you feel comfortable within our organization. Furthermore, we are required under the Health and Safety Act (Arboreta) to protect our colleagues against this. That is why we have a counselor, this is a confidential place for reports or complaints about undesirable behavior. In Glass Frog you can see who fulfills this position within the organization and the tasks associated with this position.
A counselor always handles information confidentially and adheres to a confidentiality obligation. However, reports are anonymously registered, and an annual report will be made. If you wish to ask for the help of a counselor, know that it is more than just having a little talk. We are required to take your problem seriously, and that is why, for example, we seek help, file a report, start mediation, etc. to find a solution.
There are several counselors appointed in our organization whom you can approach with mentions or complaints about verbal, psychological, and physical violence, sexual harassment, discrimination, and bullying. Reports of corruption, acts of wasting, abuse of power, theft, fraud, embezzlement, and conflict of interests are no exception.
Engaging a counselor is a serious matter that is more than “just venting thoughts”. The counselor will always do more than just listen. For example, getting professional help like social services, going to the police together, or calling in mediation. Also, everything will be documented.
We have chosen to appoint internal and external counselors. You are free to choose which one you are more comfortable approaching.
The tasks and powers of the counselor
- accompany, assist
- Redirecting to professional counselors, helping with reporting to the police, etc
- The right to mediate between ‘accuser’ and ‘accused’ and to get more information from other people involved
- Consult internal/external experts
- Contribute to the prevention of violence, sexual harassment, and discrimination
- Give a written report once a year
The counselor will always treat the information of employees as confidential. There is an oath of secrecy. The counselor is supposed to be able to work independently from the rest of the organization.
They only have the accountability to give an annual anonymized report and can if wanted explain it verbally. There is no information about people or information that might hint at this person in the report. The annual report will not be spread. It is also possible that advice concerning safety and precautionary actions is given through the report. This advice is important for the development of policies concerning the safety of us all.
How can you make use of a counselor?
First, you choose which counselor you would like to talk to. You describe your ‘complaint’ and discuss possible actions and solutions. Maybe you will make a second appointment, or you can go to social work from ArboNed.
If you have a strong complaint then more formal steps will be taken. The reason that this a formal procedure is because the subjects need it. Don’t be discouraged by these steps, they all contribute to solving the issue.
- You can consult a counselor when you are being discriminated against, sexually harassed, or if there is violence. Writing is preferred.
- A complaint can be submitted verbally or written. A document will be made from a verbal complaint that needs to be signed by you and the counselor. you will get a copy of the document. The counselor will advise or discuss with you if the procedure needs to be continued. Anonymous complaints will not be dealt with.
- The counselor will investigate the complaint, if needed the counselor will call for adequate help. It is possible that the counselor will hear the accuser and accused outside each other's presence. This hearing will be done in a maximum of two weeks after the complaint has been reported.
The internal counselors will always call the external counselor when there is a formal complaint and will probably let the external counselor handle the complaint due to the expertise of this person.
The procedure stated above will be evaluated annually by the counselors.
If you feel more comfortable with an external counselor you can find her details here.