Best Practices for Sexual Harassment Internal Investigations
With increasing media coverage and attention focused on sexual harassment, organizations need to be prepared for an increasing number of employee complaints related to this sensitive topic. Any time there are complaints associated with policy, procedure or law violations, employers must conduct thorough, effective internal investigations. This is just as true for sexual harassment complaints as it is for other types of allegations that may create liability for the employer. Sexual harassment can take many forms, and handling these types of complaints can be particularly sensitive in many ways. There are many moving parts associated with these kinds of complaints and the subsequent investigation that have to be approached effectively and swiftly, such as including recognizing potential problems that might need to be investigated, taking in complaints and interacting with employees who may have experienced this type of harassment, identifying and interviewing potential witnesses, recommending actions and making decisions that protect the organization and its employees, and communicating with those who have been accused of and/or who have exhibited harassing behaviors, and more.