Investigate a Claim of Harassment

Key Points

  • An employer has a duty to investigate claims of harassment upon receiving a complaint or learning of alleged harassment in the workplace.
  • 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.
  • 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 and review documentation during the investigation. Records of the investigation should be kept in a file separate from personnel records.
  • The employer should remind the complainant that it will maintain confidentiality to the extent possible, it will only disclose facts on a need-to-know basis and it will enforce its no-retaliation policy as necessary.

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