Q. An employee lodged a complaint about a supervisor’s misconduct. I know we’ll need to perform an investigation, but I’m not sure where to start. What’s the best way to proceed?
A. Start by meeting with the employee and getting a full account of what occurred. Two people should meet with the employee; one should take detailed notes. After that meeting, interview the supervisor and then others who may have witnessed the conduct or whom the employee or supervisor identifies as having relevant knowledge.
Begin the investigation promptly. Ask each person to keep the investigation confidential. Keep an open mind until you have spoken with all of the witnesses. After doing that, you should determine—based on what you have heard and the credibility of the witnesses—whether the supervisor in fact engaged in misconduct.
If you conclude that he did, take remedial action to prevent the conduct from happening again. That action can take a variety of forms, including a warning, coaching, training—or termination.