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How Should an Employer Investigate a Harassment Complaint?

— February 4, 2022

One of your very first questions should be: “Where can I find a sexual harassment defense attorney near me?”

What are you supposed to do if one of your employees claims that they were sexually harassed in California? Do you simply ignore the problem and hope that it goes away? Do you start investigating the matter yourself? Do you fire everyone involved? These are all important questions, especially when you consider the fact that a sexual harassment lawsuit can destroy your company’s reputation and financial well-being. Make no mistake – you have a legal responsibility to take this situation seriously. So what do you do next?

Get in Touch with a Lawyer as Soon as Possible

One of your very first questions should be: “Where can I find a sexual harassment defense attorney near me?” The sooner you get in touch with a qualified, experienced attorney, the better. Although the future might seem uncertain now, a lawyer can help you approach this situation confidently and efficiently. They can officer solid legal advice, and they can defend you in court if necessary. Follow the guidance of your attorney, and you can resolve this situation in the best possible way. 

Listen Carefully

Your first job is to simply listen. Even if you are 99% sure that the alleged victim is making everything up, you are still legally obliged to take them seriously and hear them out. They will likely submit a written report of the harassment to you. Keep this report and make copies. You should also write out an official response to the harassment claims, and you can give this response to your employee. The response should clearly state that you have received their report of sexual harassment, and that you are taking their complaints seriously. 

You might also want to speak with the alleged harasser. Inform them of the situation and give them a chance to have their say. In some cases, it may be necessary to temporarily suspend the alleged harasser while the investigation is taking place. You can still provide the accused with pay during this suspension period. If the investigation clearly shows that the harasser is guilty, you can terminate their employment. 

Let the EEOC Handle It

Image of the EEOC seal
Seal of the EEOC; image courtesy of U.S. Government via Wikimedia Commons,

The victim may get in touch with the EEOC, and this government organization will launch an official investigation into the matter. Allow the EEOC to handle the heavy lifting of the investigation, as it’s not really your responsibility to act like a detective or a lawyer. Just remember to cooperate with the EEOC and provide them with as much information and evidence as possible. Remember, the EEOC is supposed to be unbiased, which means that they don’t take sides. After an impartial investigation, a lawsuit may be launched against you and the alleged harasser. 

Where Can I Find a San Jose Sexual Harassment Lawyer Near Me?

If you’re looking for a sexual harassment defense lawyer in San Jose, there are many legal professionals ready and waiting to assist you. The sooner you book a consultation, the better. Although a sexual harassment scandal is never easy to deal with as an employer, there are a number of effective strategies you can employ right now. With these strategies, you can protect your company’s reputation and financial well-being. 

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