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EEOC Informal Discussion Letter

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

EEOC Office of Legal Counsel staff members wrote the following informal discussion letter in response to an inquiry from a member of the public. This letter is intended to provide an informal discussion of the noted issue and does not constitute an official opinion of the Commission.

Title VII: Sexual Harassment

January 27, 2000


In your letter, dated January 7, 2000, you inquired whether the EEOC has issued guidelines on employer investigations of sexual harassment charges. Attached is a copy of the EEOC's Enforcement Guidance on Vicarious Employer Liability for Unlawful Harassment by Supervisors, issued June 18, 1999. This document sets forth the steps employers should take to prevent and correct harassment, and provides practical guidance on how employers should conduct investigations into harassment complaints.

You additionally asked whether an employer should interview all parties to the allegation, and whether it should maintain a record of the investigation. The Enforcement Guidance makes clear that an effective investigation generally entails interviews of the complainant, the alleged harasser, and third parties who could reasonably be expected to have relevant information. The Guidance does not address the question of record keeping. However, lack of a record of the investigation will make it difficult for the employer to prove that the investigation was effective.

I hope that this information is helpful to you.



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