When it comes to the process of investigating parties to determine the appropriate action to take in a sexual harassment case, there are several key questions that will be posed to each individual involved.
Questions For The Complainant
When asking questions to the complainant, the types of queries that are normally asked are:
- Where did the event take place?
- Who was involved?
- What exactly happened?
- When did it take place?
- Where did it happen?
- How consistent was it?
- How were you affected by it?
These specific questions are formed to evoke the complainants’ perspective on the situation. Questions regarding any tangible employment actions or severity of impact include:
- What was your reaction?
- What was your initial response once the incident took place, or even after it took place?
- How has the harassment affected your lifestyle? Did your work life get impacted in any way?
Then, questions that include topics relating to anyone else being connected to the incident are asked. For example:
- Were there any witnesses during the time this event took place? Who witnessed it? How did they witness it? What events did they witness? What dates were these particular events witnessed?
- Did you let anyone know about the harassment?
- Who did you inform? What did you mention to them? When did you let them know about your harassment?
To make sure if an alleged harasser was victimizing more than one employee, the complainant will be asked if they have any knowledge of that particular topic.
- Did the alleged harasser who harassed you harass others, as well? Are you aware of whether or not those employees made complaints about the alleged harassment?
It is essential to have documented evidence. This will objectively help find out who is at fault for the situation that took place. It will also more easily determine if the situation actually happened.
- Are there documented notes or physical evidence of the incident?
The complainant’s perspective on how he or she handled the case is the next step towards obtaining important information. This will provide beneficial details to help determine the level of unwelcomeness a victim communicated to the alleged harasser.
- Did you complain? Did you make it well-known that you rejected the alleged discriminatory actions? Who did you tell? When did you tell them? What information did you share with the person you told about the situation?
Next, the complainant will be asked information regarding an employer’s anti-harassment policies. Questions will be administered regarding their knowledge on anti-harassment policies to see if they even how to properly respond to these types of situations.
- Did you know about the agency’s anti-harassment policy?
- How did you come across this policy information?
- Did you complain pursuant to that policy?
Afterwards, questions will be asked regarding the company’s knowledge of the wrongful actions committed by the alleged harasser, along with their response if they noticed the inappropriate behaviors.
- Did you make complaints about the hostile work environment?
- Who did you go to regarding these complaints?
- When did you talk to them?
- What information did you share with them regarding your issue with the work environment?
Follow up questions will be asked to uncover more information regarding the outcome of the complaint.
- What took place as a result of your complaint?
- Did the hostile work environment stop or is it still continuing?
- If it did stop, when? Immediately or gradually?
Next, it is important to get information on whether the complainant took additional action to prevent more harassment from occurring.
- Was there any further action done to prevent additional harassment by the alleged harasser?
Lastly, the investigation will conclude with the following:
- How would you prefer the situation to be resolved?
- Is there any additional, relevant information you’d like to include?
Questions For The Alleged Harasser
A few basic questions are asked to get an idea about who the harasser is and what his or her ties are to the complainant.
- What is your current position in the company?
- What is your relationship with the complainant?
- Did the complainant let you know that the actions you performed were unwelcome?
- How did they inform you about this?
- What did the complainant mention?
A follow up question is then posed to get an understanding of his or her reaction.
- How did you react when you were told all of this? What did you do right after?
If the alleged harasser claims that the accusations are false, questions will be asked regarding their perspective on what they think actually happened.
- Why do you believe the complainant’s accusations are false?
- Explain what happened in your perspective.
After an explanation is given, it is expected for the alleged harasser to also provide information on whether or not there were additional individuals involved in the event.
- Are there other individuals who have additional relevant information regarding the issue?
- Do you know anyone, other than the complainant, who has relevant information?
Lastly, once these questions are answered, documented evidence will be requested.
- Did you take any documented notes or have physical evidence relating to the incident?
Questions For Witnesses
Reaching out to any available witness is helpful for gathering additional evidence that may play an important role in determining how the case will be handled.
- What did you see? What did you hear?
- When did this event take place?
- Describe the alleged harasser’s behavior to the complainant and other employees in the workplace.
A follow up question is asked to determine if the witness is aware of the conduct being unwelcome or unwanted.
- Do you know if the complainant informed the alleged harasser that their actions were unwelcome?
- If so, how did you find out? Include important details, dates, and conversations that took place.
- Did you reach out to the complainant and talk about the hostile work environment?
- Did you notice any harassment?
Lastly, it is concluded with:
- Do you know any other additional, relevant information?
- Do you know if there are other individuals who may provide relevant information on this case?
Once all questions are asked to the parties involved in the harassment case and a thorough case analysis is established, a final decision will be made.
What Can West Coast Employment Lawyers Do For You?
If you have made up your mind to take action, it is important to work with an attorney that specializes in cases like yours. The sexual harassment lawyers at West Coast Employment Lawyers have extensive experience handling sexual harassment cases. We will work tirelessly to gather the facts, find and interview eyewitnesses, hire experts, and fight for your rights.
We work on a contingency basis, which means we only get attorney’s fees if we are able to recover for you. Our legal team is available 24/7 and will take care of your case from start to finish. For a free no-obligation consultation with a sexual harassment attorney in California, contact our office at (213-927-3700
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