Are your business's harassment investigations above reproach?

Employers have an obligation to provide a work environment that is free of bullying, harassment, discrimination and other inappropriate workplace behavior. To protect your company, you need to make sure that your workplace investigations are timely, fair and impartial.

The first line of defense begins with your policies and procedures. Outlining behaviors that your company will not tolerate is important. Thereafter, you need a comprehensive investigation procedure to follow when harassment complaints arise. Today, more and more companies are sending their investigations externally for reasons of impartiality and fairness. Whether internal or external, investigations should be done by someone who has the proper training, time and resources to do the work.

In support of any good anti-harassment program is a communication plan so that employees are trained regularly on what is not acceptable behavior. Scenario-based training is generally preferable than simply stating principles or rules. Part of the harassment training incudes teaching employees to recognize issues that should be reported, whether it's happening to them or a co-worker, and are given a variety of reporting options. The ability to submit anonymous complaints is part of any good program. However, employees need to understand that only those anonymous complaints that have sufficient information to be investigated will be investigated.

Providing a good work culture is so important to the employee engagement and productivity, and it is the right thing to do. Having a proper investigation process is a key part of that commitment.

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