When and How to Investigate Sexual Harassment Claims
In today’s workplace, it is critically important to recognize when to investigate a sexual harassment allegation and equally important to understand how to properly conduct a workplace investigation. Having conducted a proper investigation at the right time is often crucial to an employer’s ability to defend against regulatory and civil liability, and failure to promptly and properly investigate a particular complaint can waive an employer’s legal defense, or significantly undermine its legal position in litigation. Conducting effective workplace investigations can also help an employer improve employee morale, increase productivity (when coupled with appropriate disciplinary action), reduce turnover rates, and improve organizational culture by ending inappropriate conduct on a company-wide level.
In this workshop you will solidify your understanding of:
- When to investigate an allegation of sexual harassment; and
- How to investigate allegations of workplace misconduct, including how to determine:
- Whether allegations of misconduct have merit;
- Who was involved in the misconduct;
- Disciplinary or other measures that should be taken against the alleged perpetrators to prevent recurrence and limit employer liability; and
- Preventative steps to avoid future similar incidents.
The EEOC specifically recommends that workplace investigations be performed by “well-trained, objective, and neutral investigators.” In light of this, and considering that an improperly conducted investigation can exacerbate the underlying problem being investigated and, in some instances, create additional liability for the company, it is critical for your company to understand the various legal issues associated with conducting an investigation.
Course Overview/Learning Objectives
This workshop will cover the following topics:
- How to Determine When to Investigate Workplace Conduct
- Understanding the EEOC’s Guidelines for Effective Workplace Investigations
- A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Conduct a Workplace Investigation, including:
- Developing your investigation plan;
- Collecting and analyzing evidence;
- Conducting witness interviews; and
- Making credibility determinations;
- Making factual determinations;
- Documenting your investigation efforts;
- Drafting the your investigation report;
- Determining the response;
- Communicating the outcome; and
- Monitoring future conduct.