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How Are Workplace Sexual Harassment Claims Investigated?

How Are Workplace Sexual Harassment Claims Investigated?

All employers in Ohio are required to conduct an investigation any time an employee makes a sexual harassment complaint. Before employees can file a sexual harassment case in court, they must first file a claim with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. Only if the Ohio Civil Rights Commission issues a “Right to Sue” letter can the employee file a civil lawsuit in court. When filing a lawsuit, employees are always encouraged to work with a Columbus workplace sexual harassment attorney, who will also conduct an investigation. Our skilled attorney outlines the steps involved below.

An Initial Interview With the Complainant

An investigation typically begins with an interview with the complainant. Many questions are asked to establish certain details of the alleged incident, including:

  • Where and when the harassment occurred
  • What was done or said by each party
  • Whether anyone else witnessed the incident
  • The impact of the incident 
  • Whether there is documentation pertaining to the harassment
  • Whether the complainant knows of anyone else who has been harassed in the same manner or by the same person

Interview With the Alleged Perpetrator

The alleged harasser may be interviewed before or after other people are interviewed, depending on the facts of the case. The alleged perpetrator should be told of the purpose of the interview, as well as the fact that no conclusion has been made yet. The alleged perpetrator should also be informed of all details of the allegations so they can have a chance to respond. If the individual believes the actions were not uninvited, or they believe the complainant is being dishonest, they should be given the opportunity to present supporting evidence for their claim.

Other Interviews

Other people may be interviewed as part of a workplace sexual harassment investigation. These may include witnesses who saw the incident or people who know of the alleged harasser taking similar actions with other workers.

Collection of Evidence

Evidence is a crucial part of any workplace sexual harassment case, and it is collected during the investigation. Important evidence can include text messages, emails, social media posts, and more. In some instances, employers may have footage from security cameras or key card access that can provide additional evidence. Reviewing past complaints or performance evaluations can also help determine if the harassment is a pattern.

Documenting the Investigation

It is critical that all investigations are well documented, as this can enhance the credibility of the evidence gathered. Written documentation can also strengthen a claim if it is found that harassment occurs and the perpetrator challenges the case. Likewise, if the investigation does not result in further action, proper documentation can show there was insufficient evidence to proceed.

Our Workplace Sexual Harassment Attorneys in Ohio Can Conduct an Investigation

If you believe you have been harassed in the workplace, our Ohio workplace sexual harassment attorneys at Marshall, Forman & Schlein can help. Our skilled attorneys have the necessary experience to conduct a thorough investigation and collect the evidence that will prove your case. Call us now or contact us online to schedule a consultation and learn more.

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