For the last few weeks I’ve been blogging about avoiding the nightmare of harassment claims in your practice/business. The first two steps to doing this have been: 1. Providing written policy and regular communication, and 2. Provide antiharrassment training.
Step 3 is investigate complaints:
Timing is everything! The longer an employer waits to investigate a complaint of harassment, the more it may say, “this isn’t serious” to the employee.
Investigating a harassment claim is your FIRST priority. EVERYTHING else takes a backseat. Furthermore, taking quick action will prevent your liability from increasing. How? Slow action could be making the employee vulnerable to more attacks.
However, unless you as an employer can be truly unbiased as an investigator, then you should hire a third-party to do the investigating. The objective is to gather information, including looking at the following documents:
- Payroll records
- Job assignments
- Working hours
You, or the investigator will also have to interview:
- The accused
- The victim
- Anyone who knows about the incident
When conducting interviews:
- Ask open-ended questions
- Tell the version of the story as you know it, and then document their agreement/disagreement
- Compile written and signed statements
- Ask for additional information that is remembered after the interview
- Keep findings confidential, and ask others to do the same
The investigator will keep detailed records of interviews and ALL relevant information. He/she will prepare a final report including the steps taken and the conclusion of the claim. This information will then be kept in a confidential file.
For an example of an investigation that wasn’t handled so well Watch this VIDEO NOW
Next week is step 4, including part 2 of the video you just watched. Have a great week navigating your fishbowl!