Notice anything in the latest stories about sexual harassment and abuse? At the core of every case is the investigation. Yet, no two companies handle harassment investigations the same way.
An investigation can sometimes be performed with inside staff, like an HR manager. But given the growing potential stakes, harassment complaints are often best handled by an outside investigator with deep knowledge of workplace laws.
In any case, you want to make sure you’ve got a “Monk” and not a “Guy Noir” on the case.
Here are six points to consider when choosing an investigator for a sex harassment complaint.
#1 Does your investigator have the right experience with sex harassment complaints?
Investigating a harassment complaint correctly is a learned skill. It requires complex analysis and the ability to judge vast amounts of information with speed, stamina and patience.
#2 Is your investigator unbiased?
The outcome of any investigation is inevitably judged for evenhandedness and fairness. Inside staff often are seen as biased in favor of their employer, which can put the credibility of even the most thoughtful investigation at risk.
#3 Will your investigator be non-threatening?
Personality is key. An investigator should be relatable, disarming and open minded, or else witnesses may not share the intimate details that only they know.
#4 Does your investigator handle proof properly?
Harassment investigations typically serve two goals: spotting (and stopping) harassment and preparing for litigation. An investigator should understand how to document findings and recommendations with an eye toward both. An investigator’s poorly worded report or sloppy handling of evidence could damage an employer’s defense to a later harassment suit.
#5 Can your investigator protect your legal team?
The law firm a business typically relies upon for defending it in court may wish to avoid conducting the investigation itself for fear of making its own lawyers witnesses in later litigation over the matter under investigation.
#6 Is your investigator cost and time-effective?
An investigation can be taxing on internal resources, but also costly if performed inefficiently by an outside resource. Experienced outside workplace investigators generally can conduct investigations more quickly and with significantly less internal disruption than internal investigators.
Call an experienced workplace investigator
Employers and other law firms trust Savine Employment Law, Ltd. to provide expert, independent, professional and confidential workplace investigations in the areas of harassment, discrimination, policy and code of conduct violations and other legal violations. Located in Chicago, Illinois, we conduct investigations nationwide. Call Savine Employment Law, Ltd. today for a Chicago harassment investigator.