He said/she said: Gauging credibility in harassment cases

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Hiring

Most employers understand the importance of doing a fair and thorough investigation when they receive complaints of on-the-job harassment. In-house investigators (usually from HR) often do a good job of interviewing the right people and documenting the interviews but then fall short when analyzing the evidence.

For example, many investigators falsely believe they can’t conclude that harassment occurred unless they have independent witnesses to the allegations. This mistake leads to action not being taken when it should.

So what should you do when confronted with conflicting stories? Here are some guidelines.

Use a lower burden of proof

Investigators of workplace harassment often believe that the employee claiming harassment must show the harassment occurred “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Not so.

Instead, use the lesser standard of “preponderance of the evidence.” In other words, is it more likely than not that the harassment o...(register to read more)

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