Investigate a Claim of Discrimination

Key Points

  • An employer should have a flexible complaint procedure for reporting claims of discrimination and provide employees with multiple channels to make a verbal or written complaint.
  • When an employee makes a claim of discrimination, the employer should emphasize the importance of confidentiality and that information will be disclosed only on a need-to- know basis. The employee should be assured that the employer has a zero tolerance policy for retaliation.
  • A neutral, objective and properly trained investigator should be selected. An employer may want to hire an outside investigator if a high-level employee is accused of harassment.
  • The investigator should conduct interviews to gather the necessary facts from the complainant, the alleged wrongdoer and all witnesses. Every stage of the investigation, including all interviews, should be carefully documented.
  • The investigator should not decide whether discrimination took place, but rather the investigator should only record what happened.
  • If the alleged wrongdoer has violated the employer's discrimination policy, the alleged wrongdoer should be disciplined in accordance with employer policy.

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