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Handling Workplace Investigations in the Time of the #MeToo Movement

The #MeToo movement shined a much-needed light on issues involving sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. In this time of greater sensitivity to these issues, it is important that companies have protocols in place to conduct proper investigations when these issues arise in the workplace.

Here are a few tips to help your company appropriately handle allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace.

  • Report immediately: Supervisors who receive complaints from employees should immediately report those complaints to HR. Even if the complaints were made anonymously, or if the supervisor believes the complainant will also go to HR, it is still crucial that they follow the proper protocol and report quickly.
  • Be prompt with the investigation: Determine who will be responsible for conducting the investigation (someone who will be impartial, fair and capable) and begin and conclude the investigation promptly. The investigation should not have to draw out over a long period of time. However, you should make sure you properly interview all witnesses and follow up as needed.
  • Document everything: Any investigation should feature thorough documentation of the entire process. Every aspect of the investigation should be carefully recorded and preserved to ensure a paper trail, which will help you to ensure you follow the proper processes to the letter.
  • Avoid retaliation: Make sure your company has anti-retaliation rules in place and that you do not retaliate against the complainant. Investigators must inform all individuals involved in the investigation that there will be no tolerance for harassment or retaliation against the complainant or anyone involved in the investigation.
  • Keep all parties informed: After the investigation is over, meet separately with the complainant and accused to follow up and discuss the processes used, and any disciplinary actions that will be taken. Encourage the complainant to report any further incidents.

For more tips, contact an experienced whistleblower lawyer at Kardell Law Group.

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In his new book, "Standing Up to China: How a Whistleblower Risked Everything for His Country," former client & Author, Ashley Yablon, quotes Attorney Steve Kardell about Whistelblower Law.
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