So, what about Denise?
Denise was uncomfortable in approaching Tom with her complaint. So she followed her firm’s harassment policy and reported her complaints to HR. HR completed an internal investigation and brought their assessment and recommendations to Tom. Although he was upset by the report of harassment brought forward by Denise, Tom admitted that having worked with so few women in the past and the existing “boys’ club” culture made him completely unaware of how she was being affected by her colleagues’ behaviour. He resisted the idea that he had been treating her differently from others in his group but agreed to implement training on respectful conduct in the workplace.
Although she was uncomfortable and nervous about formally making a complaint, Denise stayed at the firm. Gradually, things improved and over the course of a year, Denise began to feel accepted and valued by Tom and her colleagues. Several more female scientists were hired as the company grew.