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Checklists for Employers

Checklist Three: A Harassment Reporting System and Investigations

A reporting system that allows employees to file a report of harassment they have experienced or observed, and a process for undertaking investigations, are essential components of a holistic harassment prevention effort.

Check the box below if your anti-harassment effort contains the following elements:

▢ A fully-resourced reporting process that allows the organization to respond promptly and thoroughly to reports of harassment that have been experienced or observed

▢ Employer representatives who take reports seriously

▢ A supportive environment where individuals feel safe to report harassing behavior to management

▢ Well-trained, objective, and neutral investigators

▢ Timely responses and investigations

▢ Investigators who document all steps taken from the point of first contact and who prepare a written report using guidelines to weigh credibility

▢ An investigation that protects the privacy of individuals who file complaints or reports, individuals who provide information during the investigation, and the person(s) alleged to have engaged in harassment, to the greatest extent possible

▢ Mechanisms to determine whether individuals who file reports or provide information during an investigation experience retribution, and authority to impose sanctions on those who engage in retaliation

▢ During the pendency of an investigation, systems to ensure individuals alleged to have engaged in harassment are not "presumed guilty" and are not "punished" unless and until a complete investigation determines that harassment has occurred

▢ A communication of the determination of the investigation to all parties and, where appropriate, a communication of the sanction imposed if harassment was found to have occurred

A reminder that this checklist is meant to be a useful tool in thinking about and taking steps to prevent harassment in the workplace, and responding to harassment when it occurs. It is not meant to convey legal advice or to set forth legal requirements relating to harassment. Checking all of the boxes does not necessarily mean an employer is in legal compliance; conversely, the failure to check any particular box does not mean an employer is not in compliance.