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EMPLOYMENT LAW GUIDE: - page 61 / 134





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respond both at the evaluation meeting and in writing, if desired. The final written

evaluation should be treated with confidentiality and placed in the employee’s personnel file.


Investigations Into Complaints of Harassment and Other Inappropriate Conduct

In general, the objectives of an investigation into a complaint of harassment or other

inappropriate conduct are: to determine if the allegations have merit; to decide whether the

conduct violates the employer’s policies regarding workplace conduct; to eliminate any

ongoing unacceptable conduct; to take any other appropriate remedial measures (including

possible disciplinary action); to keep the allegations as confidential as possible; to ensure that

no retaliation occurs against the individual who makes the complaint or those who cooperate

with the investigation into the complaint; and to promote an atmosphere in which employees

feel comfortable reporting unwelcome or inappropriate conduct before either the conduct or

the discomfort it engenders escalates.

It is critical that the employer respond to employee complaints of harassment or other

inappropriate conduct as swiftly as possible. The response must include an appropriate

investigation into the allegations. Note that the law also requires the employer to respond if

he or she learns, through an indirect source, that inappropriate conduct has or is occurring in

the workplace, even if no one has come forward with a complaint. An employer who fails to

investigate such a complaint promptly and thoroughly risks an imposition of liability for that

failure, regardless of the merits of the underlying complaint.

Upon receipt of a complaint from an employee about harassment of any kind

(particularly harassment based on the individual’s membership in a protected category, such


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