Conducting a sexual harassment investigation

On Behalf of | Apr 25, 2024 | employment law |

When a North Carolina employer receives a report of sexual harassment, the first step is to begin an investigation into the alleged incident. Investigating these issues promptly can help prevent legal issues for the company. The person who investigates the allegations will be tasked with gathering evidence, interviewing those involved, and determining whether any action should be taken. 

Neutral and confidential 

When investigating a serious matter like a sexual harassment allegation, the investigator needs to keep the identities of those involved confidential when possible. When questioning the accused, the accuser, and any potential witnesses, the investigator should maintain a neutral tone and use open-ended questions to gain information about the alleged incident. One may wish to have signed and dated statements to keep as evidence in case legal issues arise in the future.  

Matters related to sexual harassment can create a hostile workplace. An employer needs to be thorough when investigating these incidents. One may request records of text messages, emails, or other documentation that can provide evidence of what occurred. The investigator should use the information gathered to determine if any action should be taken. 

Take these allegations seriously 

Employers must investigate allegations of sexual harassment, even if the allegation seems unlikely. Ignoring these allegations could lead to legal problems for an employer if an employee decides to file a lawsuit. North Carolina employers who are navigating the process of investigating or addressing sexual harassment can benefit from working with an attorney who is well-versed in the state’s employment laws.