How to Conduct Effective Workplace Harassment Investigation

Workplace harassment is a severe issue for management and HR. With the increasing number of harassment reports that are making headlines these days, there is a need for the company to take harassment complaints seriously and should be investigated before it takes a dangerous turn. The anti-harassment policies are sometimes not useful when it comes to practical harassment complaints. However, employees with harassment complaints not looking for a temporary solution. The Investigation and result should not be biased.


Here are some useful tips for conducting active workplace harassment investigation:


A Timely Report of Harassment Complaint

In many cases, it has been observed that harassment complaints are not taken seriously and not brought to the notice of the HR. It is advisable for the managers and superior to bring the charge of harassment in the opinion of the HR department or the department responsible for compliance of anti-harassment policies. With timely and consistent reporting of the complaint, the employee’s claim is observed and followed up, which can prevent lengthy and expensive lawsuits.


Appoint Appropriate and Unbiased Person for Harassment Complaint Investigation

The prime rule to investigate the complaint of harassment is to appoint an investigator who is impartial, fair, and practical for the job. The person who is discharging the duties of the investigator should be able to identify the problem and offer a permanent solution so that workplace culture is not affected and the employees can deliver productive work hours.


Proper Initiation and Documentation of Investigation

Most of the cases of workplace harassment worsen with time. Hence, it is necessary that Investigation is initiated promptly after the receipt of the complaint. The employees in question must feel secure and confident with the process of a harassment investigation. It is also essential for the investigator to document the Investigation thoroughly. The methods adopted, employees interviewed for the incident, remedial measures offered, and other matters should be documented so that it may help in future investigations.


Remedial measures, the Conclusion of Investigation and Steps to Avoid the Circumstances in Future

Workplace harassment does not start in a minute. It happens that harassment is always there in the department, but brought in to the notice of the management recently. It is essential for the management and investigator to identify the source of harassment and suggest remedial measure for the complaint. The complainant does not want a temporary solution to their problem. Hence the corrective action suggested should be sturdy and permanent. It should also be taken care of that any retaliation should be appropriately handled. The investigator should ask complainants to report the retaliation behavior instantly for consistency.


Fair Investigation without Discrimination

For the investigation to become successful. It necessary that the compliance of the Investigation should be fair and should not be discriminating in nature. Many companies try to protect their top-level executives, favored clients, and employees for the misconduct. Such an attitude may result in lengthy and unwanted lawsuits against workplace harassment. The Investigation should take care of such circumstances and should be disciplinary in nature.


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