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Investigating Claims of Harassment – Part 2: Interviewing the Complainant and Planning the Investigation

February 15, 2018

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You have received a complaint of harassment.  What next?  In this second part of a six-part series, we focus on interviewing the complainant and planning the rest of the investigation.  As always, bear in mind that each harassment investigation is different and must be tailored to fit the particular circumstances.

The interview of the complainant is usually the first and most important interview that will be conducted, and therefore, should be carefully planned beforehand. This interview, and all others, should be conducted in a private, neutral meeting space at your location. The following provides an illustration of the areas that should be covered by the investigator during the interview of the complainant.

At the beginning of the meeting, the investigator should:

  • Identify his/her role as investigator (i.e., you are a neutral conducting an investigation on behalf of the company).
  • Ask the complainant whether he/she is comfortable with the investigator

Investigating and Responding to Harassment Claims – Part 1: The Complaint

January 30, 2018

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What if you were the human resources manager or in-house counsel that received a complaint that Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, or any of the other number of recently accused individuals sexually harassed an employee?  With the rise of sexual harassment allegations receiving increased scrutiny, retailers need to have proper procedures in place for handling claims of sexual and other harassment in the workplace.

This is the first of a six-part series that will address guidelines and suggestions for conducting investigations of harassment complaints. Each harassment investigation, however, is different, and any investigation should be tailored to fit the particular circumstances.

What Complaint?

A harassment “complaint” need not be written, nor does a “complaint” have to actually be made to anyone. Most of the time, an employee brings a complaint forward to a supervisor or to human resources. However, there are times that supervisors or human resources may “hear through the grapevine,”

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