Steps to take for Harrassment Investigation

harassment investigation steps

We (Name of the Company) strive to create and maintain a work environment in which people are treated with respect, dignity and decency. The environment of the company will be characterised by mutual trust, an absence of intimidation, oppression and exploitation.

It is the policy of (Name of the Company), in recognition of the essential rights of all the employees and applicants as individuals to recruit and hire in all job classifications without regard to religion, sect, colour, sex, ancestry, marital status or physical disability as provided for by the state and country laws.
Further it is the policy at (Name of the Company) to take affirmative action to ensure that all personnel actions such as compensation, promotion, retirement, transfers, fringe benefits, layoffs, training programs, social and recreational programs are administered without regard to religion, sect, colour, sex, ancestry, marital status or physical disability as provided for by the state and country laws.
(Name of the Company) takes all allegations of discrimination and harassment seriously and is committed to providing an environment free of unlawful discrimination and harassment.

What Is Workplace Harassment

Workplace harassment occurs when a co-worker, manager, or any other person at the workplace such as customer, contractor or volunteer, harasses, alarms or distresses another person with his or her behaviour. Such behaviour may also pose a risk to the safety or health of the victim.

Forms of harassment include but are not limited to

  • Threatening, abusive or insulting language or non verbal gestures
  • Cyber bullying
  • Sexual harassment
  • Stalking

Harassment can occur in any setting such as

  • At office
  • Outside office possibly on business trips
  • On clients premises
  • At any other work related settings

Harassment can occur through

Company Undertaking

We at (Name of the organisation) undertake to

  • Handle all complaints in a serious manner
  • Develop appropriate resources to resolve the complaint
  • Work towards resolving the complaint in a fair and timely manner
  • Protect the confidentiality of the employee claims to the best of our ability
  • Create protocols to ensure a healthy work environment for all complainants
  • Communicate decisions and actions to all the parties involved which are taken by the organisation following a complaint.

Reporting Of Complaint

The Company’s response to an allegation of violation of law or policy will be determined by the nature of the alleged violation and the totality of the information available at the time of the alleged incident. Requests from complainants to “just record my concerns” or “not take action at this point of time” may not be honored depending on the circumstances involved. If at any time the organisation feels it is necessary to conduct an investigation into the matter, the investigation may proceed without the support of the potential complainant.

Time Limit For Filing Complaint

Complaints must be filed within (number of days) days of the most recent offending incident.  The Company reserves the right in its sole discretion to investigate and act on any complaints which do not fall within the specified time frame.

Supervisors who learn of incidents that maybe a violation of the Company’s anti harassment policy are expected to report the matter to the office of (Name of the division handling complaints of harassment)

Harassment Complaint Investigation Procedure

Complaint Reporting

Any person wishing to lodge a complaint should submit a written statement to the (( (Name of the division handling complaints of harassment), supervisor, manager or HR)). Report any incidence of harassment immediately.

The complaint should specify

  • The name of the individual(s) against whom the complaint is made
  • The nature of the alleged offence
  • The specifics of the offending incident with precise details such as when it happened, who else was present, when and where it happened
  • The date, name and signature of the person who is making the complaint.

Once the complaint has been submitted the investigations will

  • Be conducted promptly and diligently and be as thorough as necessary given the circumstances
  • Be fair and impartial providing both the complainant and respondent equal treatment in evaluating the allegations
  • Be sensitive to the interest of all parties involved and maintain confidentiality
  • Be focussed on finding facts and evidence including conducting interviews of the complainant, respondent and any witnesses
  • Incorporate where appropriate any need or request from the complainant or respondent for assistance during the investigation process.

Providing Interim Protection

At (Name of the Company), we understand the need for providing safe working conditions and will undertake immediate measures to ensure the same for the alleged victim.

Separating the alleged victim from the accused may become necessary to guard against continued harassment or retaliation. Actions such as a schedule change, transfer or leave of absence maybe initiated by discussing with the complainant as to the best recourse in the given circumstances

Prompt And Thorough Investigation Of The Complaint

Investigations of these concerns will be conducted by person(s) with training and experience and with the ability to be neutral and impartial. Legal counsel will also provide advice as needed during the course of the investigation.  The investigator will chalk out the course of action for the investigation in consultation with the legal counsel. The broad steps that will be followed will be as follows

  • Determination of the appropriate scope of the investigation
  • Interviews with the complainant
  • Interviews with the accused
  • Interviews with other employees and third parties (contractors, outside witness, etc) who may have relevant information to assist in the investigation
  • Review of emails, memos and other forms of communication
  • Review of the personnel files of the parties
  • Consideration of how to resolve credibility in assessing conflicting reports if any
  • Assessment of whether the initial scope of investigation needs to be broadened
  • Actions taken to address the concerns raised, potentially including training and discipline which will be clearly documented.

Take Appropriate Action During And After The Investigation

Once the investigator reviews all information and resolves any credibility issues to the extent possible, the investigator will arrive at a conclusion. The conclusion will generally be tied to the determination of whether the Company’s anti harassment or any other related policies were violated by the conduct at issue. If the Company at this point determines that a policy was violated and inappropriate conduct occurred, it will take appropriate disciplinary action. The correct discipline depending on the severity of the situation can include warning, counselling, impact on bonus, impact on future compensation increases, suspension or immediate dismissal of the wrongdoer.

Documenting The Investigation

The investigator will take thorough notes and document both the key facts and findings of the entire case. The outcome will clearly be mentioned in the report. This document will be retained as part of the HR personnel records.

The final report will comprise of the following

  • The incident investigated including dates
  • Parties involved
  • Key factual and credibility findings
  • Employer policies and their applicability to the investigation
  • Specific conclusions
  • Party responsible for making the final determination
  • Issues that could not be resolved if any and the reasons why they could not be resolved
  • Employer action taken

Follow Up

The Company will ensure to follow up with employees to ensure that the problem has been resolved.

Filing A False Complaint

Any individual who knowingly files a false complaint under this policy or who knowingly provides false information to or intentionally misleads the official (s) conducting the investigation maybe subjected to disciplinary and/or corrective action.