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Impartiality in Harassment Claims

When conducting harassment investigations, it is critical to maintaining impartiality. Harassment victims want to know that employers take their complaints seriously, but employees want to know that they will not be harshly judged without a fair process in place. Some ways that employers can maintain impartiality during this process include:

Develop Clear Policies

Policies should clearly outline prohibited harassment. They should include examples and demonstrate the need not to participate in these behaviors in the work environment. Workplace policies should also include clear disciplinary procedures that will be followed if misconduct is found. These policies should serve as a deterrent to employees to commit harassing acts while also providing a reliable process that employees can use to avail themselves of employer protection. 

Conduct Harassment Investigations

Rather than immediately disciplining an employee, it is important to conduct a thorough investigation. These investigations should be geared at determining whether harassing conduct occurred and what they can do to remedy the situation. The procedures for these investigations should be outlined in employee policies. 

Withhold Judgment

Investigators should approach each investigation in an objective manner. They should not immediately treat the accused employee as though he or she did something wrong. Instead, he or she should go about collecting important information about the claim and trying to discover what happened. 

Use Sample Questions

So that there is consistency in the investigative process, individuals responsible for the investigation should develop a series of sample questions. As an example, the EEOC produces a list of sample questions for claims involving harassment by supervisors. When these questions are general in nature and not based on the specific circumstances, the employer may be able to avoid claims of bias. These questions may be used to help gather information from the alleged perpetrator, victim and any witnesses. These questions may need to be mixed with questions based on the specific accusations to uncover the truth.

Use a Third-Party Investigator

Obviously, using an experienced third-party investigator is superior not attempting an investigation without experience.  Companies like the Lynch Law Firm are able produce a list of superior questions and a higher-quality investigation because of the experience of the investigators.

Cite this article: Lynch, N. (2017). Impartiality in Harassment Claims. Available: