Key Points

  • An employer has a duty to investigate claims of harassment upon receiving a complaint or learning of alleged harassment in the workplace.
  • 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. The investigator must also document everything during the investigation, including the outcome of the investigation provided to the employee.
  • An employer may elect to take interim measures, including temporary transfer or a disciplinary leave of absence with pay, to avoid potential harassment during the investigation phase.
  • An employer should not document the conclusion that unlawful harassment occurred.
  • The employer should remind the complainant that it will maintain confidentiality to the extent possible and only disclose facts on a need- to-know basis and assure the employee that the employer has a no retaliation policy.

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