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Harassment investigations: What to ask

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Human Resources

When investigating an employee’s complaint of harassment—sexual or otherwise—tailor your inquiries to the facts of that case.

Ask the complainant

  • Who committed the alleged harassment? What exactly occurred? When and how often did it occur, and is it still going on? Where did it occur?
  • How did you react? What response did you make when the incident occurred or afterward?
  • Has your job been affected in any way?
  • Was anyone present when the alleged harassment occurred? Did you tell anyone about it? Did anyone see you immediately after episodes of alleged harassment?
  • Did the person who harassed you harass anyone else? Do you know whether anyone complained about harassment by that person?
  • Are there any notes, physical evidence or other documentation regarding the incident(s)?
  • How would you like to see the situation resolved?

Ask the alleged harasser

  • What is your response to the allegations?
  • If the harasser claims that the allegations are false, ask why the complainant might lie.
  • Are there any notes, physical evidence or other documentation regarding the incident(s)?

Ask third-party witnesses

  • What did you see or hear?
  • What did the complainant tell you? When did she tell you that?

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