new-background-check-requirements 2013What to Tell the Complaining Employee(s)

  • The company is committed to compliance with the law and its policies, and will conduct a prompt and thorough investigation to determine whether inappropriate conduct has occurred. If so, the conduct will be stopped and appropriate corrective action will be taken.
  • The purpose of the interview is to obtain a thorough understanding of what has occurred, and to identify all evidence and witnesses who may have knowledge of the incident.
  • The Complainant’s name will be used in the investigative process only as and/or if necessary.
  • There will be no retaliation against the complainants for making a good-faith complaint. Notify management or HR immediately if you believe retaliation has occurred or is occurring.
  • Keep the matter confidential to protect the integrity of the investigation.
  • Depending on the nature of the complaint, the employer may want to consider options to separate the complaining employee and the accused employee during the investigation.

Questions for the Complaining Employee(s)

  1. What occurred?
  2. When (include the date, appropriate time period involved)?
  3. Where did it happen?
  4. How did it happen?
  5. Who did or said what? In what order? Was anything else said or done?
  6. If there was physical contact, describe the contact in detail. Demonstrate the physical contact.
  7. How did you respond?
  8. Have you ever reported this incident before? If so, to whom? When? Response?
  9. Did you discuss the incident(s) with anyone? If so, who? Where? When? What was said?
  10. Are you aware of any other incident(s) involving this person? If so, who? What? Where? When?
  11. Do you know why it happened?
  12. What is your relationship with the accused?
  13. Why are you coming forward now?
  14. Are there any notes, documents or other evidence to support your claims? Did the respondent give you anything in writing, or any gifts or other items?
  15. Were there any witnesses? Who was nearby? Within earshot?
  16. Who else may have relevant information?
  17. Was your work affected? How?
  18. How did the situation make you feel?
  19. What outcome would you like to see from this process?

What to Tell the Accused Employee

  • The company is investigating a complaint of alleged inappropriate conduct involving you. (Inform the accused of each allegation in sufficient detail to enable a full response.)
  • The purpose of the interview is to obtain a thorough and accurate understanding of what has occurred, and to identify all evidence and witnesses who may have knowledge of the incident.
  • Keep the matter confidential to protect the integrity of the investigation.
  • It is against the law and internal policy to retaliate against anyone who has filed a complaint or participates in the investigation of the complaint. Notify management or HR immediately if you believe retaliation has occurred or is occurring.

Questions for the Accused Employee

  1. What occurred?
  2. If denied, what motive would anyone have to make these allegations up? Where were you at the time alleged incidents occurred? Who witnessed your presence?
  3. When did it happen?
  4. Where did it happen?
  5. How did it happen?
  6. Who did or said what? In what order?
  7. How did the complainant(s) respond?
  8. Are you aware of any other incidents involving the complainant(s)? If so, who? What? Where? When?
  9. Are you aware of any other complaints by the complainant(s)?
  10. Do you know why it happened?
  11. Are there any notes, documents, or other evidence to support your version of the facts?
  12. Who else may know relevant information?
  13. Did you discuss the incident(s) with anyone prior to this interview? If so, who?

What to Tell Witnesses

  • The company is investigating a complaint of inappropriate conduct about which you may have some relevant information.
  • It is against the law and internal policy to retaliate against anyone who has filed a complaint or participates in the investigation of the complaint. Notify HR or management immediately if you believe retaliation has occurred or is occurring.
  • Do not discuss the investigation with others and keep the matter confidential.
  • The company may chose to have each witness sign an investigation confidential document.

Questions for Witnesses

  1. Why do you believe you have been asked to participate in the investigation?
  2. What knowledge do you have? Source?
  3. Were you present? If so, what did you see? Hear?
  4. Did you hear the information from someone else? If so, who? When? What was said?
  5. Did you see the information in writing? If so, describe or produce the writing.
  6. Do you have any notes or documents or anything else that may be relevant to the investigation? If so, request a copy.
  7. What is your own experience, interactions, and/or relationship to the extent relevant, with the complainant(s) and the respondent?
  8. What is your knowledge of the interaction/relationship between the complaining employee and the accused employee.
  9. Is there anything else you want the company to know?

Source: BLS Newsletter, Jennifer Shaw, Sacramento, Shaw Valenza LLP, 2015 Presentation given at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Annual Conference and Exposition held in San Diego.