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How to Conduct an Internal Harassment and Bullying Investigation to Determine Facts and Minimize Liability

On Demand Webinar Duration 120 Minutes Credits HRCI 2 & SHRM 2 PDCs

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Speaker : Dr. Susan Strauss is a national and international speaker, trainer, consultant and a recognized expert on workplace and school harassment and bullying. She conducts harassment and bullying investigations and functions as an expert witness in harassment and bullying lawsuits.

Overview

The EEOC requires that employers receiving a complaint, or otherwise learning of alleged harassment in the workplace, to "investigate promptly and thoroughly take immediate and appropriate corrective action by doing whatever is necessary to end the harassment, make the victim whole by restoring lost employment benefits or opportunities, and prevent the misconduct from recurring". That's a tall order to ensure a just and fair handling of a harassment complaint - an essential order that all organizations are required, by law, to follow. The investigation process is, perhaps, the most critical element in dealing with harassment. In cases that have gone to court it is often due to inadequate or absent investigations of complaints. Do you know how to conduct an investigation? This program will cover the intricacies of conducting a harassment investigation.

Why should you Attend

The investigation is essential in determining the validity to a complaint of protected class harassment and bullying. Conducting a fair and impartial investigation diminishes liability, and can decrease further misconduct by preventing it from becoming pervasive. The investigation may serve to minimize damages paid to the complainant. The institution demonstrates its commitment to the prevention and intervention of the misconduct resulting in less harassment, discrimination and other forms on misconduct on campus. By conducting its own investigation, the institution may avoid an investigation by another agency such as the EEOC. An investigation is required to help ensure a safe and healthy organizational climate.

Anyone who conducts an investigation must be trained in how to do so. Merely having the experience of conducting investigations without having been taught the art and science of the process is not enough. When your organization ensures it is investigator is trained in how to conduct investigations, it demonstrates its commitment to prevention of harassment to the Court or outside agency. The webinar addresses laws that HR is responsible for upholding. When the laws are not followed, it increases the liability for the organization and interferes with a fair and equitable work environment for employees.

Session Highlights

  • To determine if an investigation is necessary
  • To discuss the steps of an investigation
  • To explore the intricacies of interviewing the accuser, accused and witnesses
  • To differentiate between a formal and informal investigative procedures
  • To determine credibility of all interviewees
  • To draw conclusions following an investigation
  • To list necessary elements in writing the formal report outlining the investigation

Course Outline:

  • Discussion about if and when an investigation is required
  • Comparison of a formal and informal investigation process
  • Planning for the investigation
  • Review of what Constitutes a Witness
  • Legal Issues Surrounding an Investigation such as Confidentiality, Defamation of Character, and false Imprisonment
  • The importance of Documentation of each Interviewee
  • Examples of Appropriate and Inappropriate Documentation and why it is Critical
  • Specific details regarding how to Corroborate Evidence
  • List of Criteria to determine Credibility of those Interviewed
  • He Said/she Said
  • The Role of the Investigator in forming an opinion following the Investigation
  • How to follow-up with the target, accused, and the organization
  • The critical importance of an investigative report
  • List of Misconduct Triggers that are a catalyst for an Investigation
  • Template Final Report

Who Will Benefit

  • Human Resources professionals
  • those tasked with investigations such as Generalists, Mangers, and Directors
  • Attorney

This activity has been approved for 2 HR (General) recertification credit hours toward aPHR, PHR, PHRca, SPHR, GPHR, PHRi and SPHRi recertification through HR Certification Institute (HRCI). Please make note of the activity ID number on your recertification application form. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit the HR Certification Institute website at www.hrci.org

This program is valid for 2 PDCs for the SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP®


Your Instructor


Dr. Susan Strauss
Dr. Susan Strauss

Dr. Susan Strauss is a national and international speaker, trainer and consultant. She has worked as a psychiatric nurse and her undergraduate degree is in psychology and human services. Her specialty areas include discrimination, harassment, and bullying; management/leadership development, and organization development. She conducts harassment and bullying investigations and works as an expert witness for discrimination lawsuits.


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