Interview only those employees who are necessary, and do not draw the entire
workplace into the investigation. Ask for names of additional witnesses. Ask witnesses for
information on how the alleged victim and harasser act in the workplace, especially when
together. Note during the interview whether the witness appears credible.
Prepare and ask witnesses, including alleged victim and harasser, to sign a
written statement. If a witness refuses to sign, note that on the written statement.
Review alleged victim’s and harasser’s personnel files for evidence of
previous allegations which may corroborate those under investigation.
Inform all witnesses, including the alleged harasser, of the general purpose for
the investigation. Explain the company policy on sexual harassment, hostile workplace and
retaliation. Inform all witnesses, including the alleged victim and harasser, that the employer
takes the allegations very seriously. Explain that the employer will attempt to keep the
investigation confidential, but do not promise complete confidentiality, and request all
witnesses, including the alleged victim and harasser, to refrain from discussing the matter
with each other or co-workers or third parties so that the integrity of the investigation is not
compromised. Be careful not to appear overly heavy handed in making this request.
Inform the alleged victim that he or she should immediately contact the
Human Resources Department and/or a manager if contacted by the alleged harasser. Find
out if the alleged victim discussed the incident with anyone else (contemporaneously or
spontaneously). Ask the alleged victim and harasser if they have any documents to support
their version of the events.