How to Conduct an Internal Harassment and Bullying Investigation to Determine Facts and Minimize Liability

01:00 PM ET | 10:00 AM PT | 12:00 PM CT Duration 90 Minutes

Investigation may serve to minimize damages paid to the complainant


The EEOC requires that employers receiving a complaint, or otherwise learning of alleged harassment in the workplace, to "investigate promptly and thoroughly take immediate and appropriate corrective action by doing whatever is necessary to end the harassment, make the victim whole by restoring lost employment benefits or opportunities, and prevent the misconduct from recurring". That's a tall order to ensure a just and fair handling of a harassment complaint - an essential order that all organizations are required, by law, to follow. The investigation process is, perhaps, the most critical element in dealing with harassment. In cases that have gone to court it is often due to inadequate or absent investigations of complaints. Do you know how to conduct an investigation? This program will cover the intricacies of conducting a harassment investigation.

Why should you Attend

The investigation is essential in determining the validity to a complaint of protected class harassment and bullying. Conducting a fair and impartial investigation diminishes liability, and can decrease further misconduct by preventing it from becoming pervasive. The investigation may serve to minimize damages paid to the complainant. The institution demonstrates its commitment to the prevention and intervention of the misconduct resulting in less harassment, discrimination and other forms on misconduct on campus. By conducting its own investigation, the institution may avoid an investigation by another agency such as the EEOC. An investigation is required to help ensure a safe and healthy organizational climate.

Anyone who conducts an investigation must be trained in how to do so. Merely having the experience of conducting investigations without having been taught the art and science of the process is not enough. When your organization ensures it is investigator is trained in how to conduct investigations, it demonstrates its commitment to prevention of harassment to the Court or outside agency. The webinar addresses laws that HR is responsible for upholding. When the laws are not followed, it increases the liability for the organization and interferes with a fair and equitable work environment for employees

Areas Covered

•        To determine if an investigation is necessary
•        To discuss the steps of an investigation
•        To explore the intricacies of interviewing the accuser, accused and witnesses
•        To differentiate between a formal and informal investigative procedures
•        To determine credibility of all interviewees
•        To draw conclusions following an investigation
•        To list necessary elements in writing the formal report outlining the investigation

Course Outline:

•        Discussion about if and when an investigation is required
•        Comparison of a formal and informal investigation process
•        Planning for the investigation
•        Review of what Constitutes a Witness
•        Legal Issues Surrounding an Investigation such as Confidentiality, Defamation of Character, and                                 false Imprisonment
•        The importance of Documentation of each Interviewee
•        Examples of Appropriate and Inappropriate Documentation and why it is Critical
•        Specific details regarding how to Corroborate Evidence
•        List of Criteria to determine Credibility of those Interviewed
•        He Said/she Said
•        The Role of the Investigator in forming an opinion following the Investigation
•        How to follow-up with the target, accused, and the organization
•        The critical importance of an investigative report
•        List of Misconduct Triggers that are a catalyst for an Investigation
•        Template Final Report

Who will Benefit

•      Human Resources professionals - those tasked with investigations such as Generalists,Mangers,and                         Directors
•      Attorneys
•      HR Consultants

Industries who can attend

This 90-minute online course is intended for professionals in the All industries and companies because conflict resolution is a key management skill for every manager and every company

Speaker Profile

Dr Susan Strauss

Susan Strauss Ed.D. is an international speaker, trainer, consultant and recognized expert on harassment. She also conducts harassment and workplace bullying investigations and functions as a consultant to attorneys as well as an expert witness in harassment lawsuits. Her clients are from education, business, healthcare, law and government organizations from both the public and private sector. Dr. Strauss authored the book, Sexual Harassment and Teens: A Program for Positive Change, and co-authored, Girls and Boys Getting AlongTeaching Sexual Harassment in the Elementary Classroom, as well as book chapters and articles in professional journals regarding sexual harassment. She has been featured on The Donahue Show, CBS Evening News and other television and radio programs as well as interviewed for newspaper and journal articles such as Harvard Education Newsletter, Lawyers Weekly and Times of London. 

Dr. Strauss is the recipient of the Excellence in Educational Equity Award from the Minnesota Department of Education for her work in sexual harassment in education. Susan has spoken about sexual harassment in education at international conferences in Botswana, Egypt, Thailand and the U.S. She consulted with the Israeli Ministry of Education, as well as with educators from Israel, England, Australia, St. Maarten and Canada. She traveled to Poland and conducted research on sex discrimination and sexual harassment in Polish workplaces with Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights. Susan has a doctorate in organizational leadership. She is a registered nurse, has a bachelor's degree in psychology and counseling, a master's degree in public health, and professional certificate in training and development. She has been involved in the harassment arena since 1985.

Back to Top