Interview with the employee who made the complaint: Inform the employee who made the complaint that he or she will not be subject to retaliation

Interview with the employee who made the complaint: Inform the employee who made the complaint that he or she will not be subject to retaliation. You can advise, if it is company policy, that any individual will be reprimanded for filing a false complaint. Ask the employee who made the complaint what type of solution he or she is looking for during or after the investigation. Ask him or her to write a statement explaining the facts of the situation. Do not promise complete confidentiality, however, as the information will be shared on a need-to-know basis (Below & Ptasznik, 2014). Interview with the alleged harasser: Relate each occurrence of the alleged harassment, and give him or her an opportunity to respond. Then, get the alleged harasser to provide his or her version of the facts along with any documentation related to the situation that supports it. Finally, get any names of employees whom the investigator should interview, and explain why (Below & Ptasznik, 2014). Interview with the witness(es): Provide the witness with a general overview of the complaint. Do not give any details. Ask the witness to provide any information regarding the complaint and to describe any unsuitable behavior that he or she has witnessed. Advise the witness that he or she will not be subject to retaliation (Below & Ptasznik, 2014; Woska, 2013). It is very important that you do not ask if the witness has talked to anyone else about the issues; if the witness has spoken to someone else, it is essential that you do not ask who was spoken to and when the communication occurred. Also, do not advise the witness that the interview is confidential. According to Smith (2012), it was determined by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that employees cannot be prohibited from discussing investigations. The NLRB determined that this violates the employee’s rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The act protects concerted activities among union and nonunion employees. According to the NLRB (as cited by Smith, 2012), if employers want to request confidentiality, there needs to be specific concerns—not generalized concerns about the lack of confidentiality. Legitimate concerns, according to the NLRB, include the following issues: there is a need for protection of witnesses, there is a danger that evidence will be destroyed, there is a danger that testimony will be fabricated, and there is a need for prevention against a cover-up (Smith, 2012). Here is the dilemma: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), on the other hand, requires employers investigating complaints of sexual harassment to keep the investigation confidential! This is explained in the article titled “NLRB Rejects Common Practices; What is HR to Do?” that is located in your required reading for this unit. Equally important is the required reading that provides an update on the EEOC’s newly proposed guidance on retaliation, which takes an aggressive stance against retaliation (Smith, 2016). This required reading was released in 2016 with the goal of keeping organizations up to date on retaliation laws. For example, retaliation against employees for discussing compensation may violate EEO laws and the NLRA; this connection may not even occur to the employer. An employer’s most reliable defense against claims of retaliation are consistency in the application of policies and well-documented discipline (Smith, 2012).

 

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