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Effective Investigations Checklist

Harassment or Discrimination Investigations Checklist

            The following checklist and interview forms are provided to help you conduct a thorough investigation into any sexual harassment complaint.

qConsider whether any immediate measures are necessary before the investigation is completed.

 qScheduling changes

qConsider transfer of the alleged harasser or, if voluntary, transfer of the Complainant.

qConsider placing the alleged harasser on non-disciplinary leave with pay pending completion of the investigation.

 qConsider the order in which investigation interviews will be conducted.


qAlleged harasser.

qCo-workers and other witnesses.

qSecond interview of the Complainant to discuss any factual questions as a result of the investigation.

qFurther interviews of any witnesses.

 qInterview each witness separately in an office or room where the discussion will not be overheard or observed by other witnesses, the alleged harasser, or any other unauthorized persons.

 qIf possible, uninvolved managers should participate in the interview process. At least one of the investigating managers should be thoroughly familiar with sexual harassment law and the Company’s harassment policies andAlso, at least one of the investigators should be well trained in interviewing witnesses and assessing credibility.

qBefore beginning the interview, explain the purpose of the interview by referring generally to recent personnelDo not necessarily discuss the issue of harassment, so that you do not taint the witness’s recollection of the events, and cause potential gossip.

qEmphasize that the Company takes these charges very seriously and that the Company is investigating these charges by interviewing all potential witnesses in compliance with Company policy.

qExplain that upon completion of the investigation, the Company will attempt to determine what occurred, and will take appropriate action based on its determination.

qBoth the Complainant and the alleged harasser should be advised that each will be apprised of the results of the investigation and any action taken.

qInstruct each witness interviewed not to discuss the matters covered during the interview with any co-employee or the allegedHave them sign the promise to not discuss details.

qExplain to the witness that confidentially is necessary to protect the integrity of the investigation and to ensure that the Company receives trustworthy information in an atmosphere free from coercion.

qIf the Complainant asks that the complaint be kept confidential and that no action be taken, explain to the Complainant that the employer has a duty to proceed with anFurther explain to the Complaint that all information will be disseminated on a “need to know” basis only.  If applicable, refer the Complainant to EAP or and ombudsman for a future questions or concerns that he or she wishes to raise anonymously.

qInterview all possible witnesses:


qAlleged harasser.

qComplainant’s supervisor.

qAlleged harasser supervisor.




qReview Complainant’s personnel file.

qReview alleged harasser’s personnel file.

qDiscuss investigation results and proposed action with investigationThis discussion should be limited to those with a need to know the results of the investigation, such as the Complainant’s supervisor, the alleged harasser’s supervisor, and appropriate Human Resources Department staff.

qConsider credibility. Factors include:




qCorroboration or lack of corroboration, and implications of such determination.

qBias of witnesses.

qConsistency of accounts.

qPrior misconduct or lack thereof, and implications of such misconduct.

qNo one factor isDo not assume that an allegation is false just because there are no eye-witnesses.  Also, do not assume an allegation is true just because the alleged harasser engaged in similar behavior in the past.

qReview any documentary evidence.

qConsider appropriate remedial action.

qDocument investigation in personal file.

qVerbal warning.

qWritten warning.

qTransfer or reassignment.

qReduction of wages.

qTraining or counseling of harasser to ensure that he or she understands why his or her conduct violated the anti-harassment policy.



qMonitoring of harasser to ensure that harassment stops.


qFactors in determining appropriate remedial action.

qCredibility determinations.

qHarasser’s prior conduct, if any; and overall employment record with company.

qHarasser’s prior discipline.

qLevel and severity of harassment, including type and frequency of conduct.

qAlleged harasser’s knowledge of Company rules and conduct.

qPrior disciplinary “precedent” for identical or similar misconduct.

qPublic and employee relations considerations.

qWas investigation term and procedure adequate?

qConsider appropriate steps to correct the harassment’s effects:

qRestoration of leave taken by Complainant because of the harassment.

qExpungement of any negative evaluations in the Complainant’s personnel file that arose from the harassment.

qReinstatement of the Complainant.

qApology by the harasser.

qMonitoring of Complainant’s treatment to ensure against retaliation.

qSigns of retaliation.

qCorrection of any other harm (e.g. compensation for losses resulting from harassment).

qReview harassment investigation and findings.

qWas the Company harassment policy adequate.

qWere the employees aware of the terms of harassment policy?

qWas the harassment complaint procedure adequate?

qDid the investigator uncover other issues which need to be addressed?

qWas the investigation procedure adequate?

 qImplement changes to harassment policies and procedures where appropriate.