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By February 7, 2024May 19th, 2024No Comments

By Brad Ryder

The November 3, 2023, and December 5, 2023, newsletters offered suggestions on interviewing the victim and other witnesses in relation to a complaint of harassment or discrimination.  Additional considerations in relation to interviewing the harasser include the following:

  • Do not be antagonistic.
  • Show the harasser a signed copy of the company’s employee handbook / harassment policy.
  • Confirm that the harasser received and is aware of his/her obligations under the company’s employee handbook / harassment policy.
  • Inform the harasser of the allegations that have been made.
  • Obtain responses to each and every allegation.
  • Ask whether there are any other people who have information regarding what happened.
  • Ask simple and direct questions aimed at obtaining facts, which should include the following:

    • Does he/she have any notes or other physical evidence?
    • Did the victim ever say that such conduct was unwelcome?
    • If so, what was his/her response?
    • Were there any interactions with the victim prior to the date of the alleged misconduct?
    • How would he/she characterize his/her relationship with the victim prior to the alleged incident(s)?
    • Did something happen that precipitated the allegations being made?
    • Have any similar allegations ever been made against him/her in the past?
    • Did he/she exchange any e-mails, text messages, etc?  If so, ask for copies.
  • Consider whether to request a handwritten, signed statement.
  • If the harasser thinks of anything else, he/she is welcome to bring this to your attention. Likewise, as the investigation proceeds, you may have additional questions for him/her.
  • Remind the harasser that the investigation is ongoing and that he/she is to have no contact with the victim and is not to discuss this matter with anyone who might have witnessed any of the alleged conduct.
  • Explain to the harasser that he/she will remain separated from the victim until the investigation is concluded.
  • Inform the harasser that you will notify him/her of the results of the investigation and what, if any, action will be taken.

One of the most important steps in the investigation of a complaint of employment-related harassment or discrimination is the interview of the harasser.  Sufficient time and consideration should be dedicated to preparing for this interview.

If you have questions about drafting employment policies, investigating claims of harassment or discrimination, responding to a Charge of Discrimination, or other employment-related issues, feel free to contact me at (256) 534-3288 or

This information is not intended to provide legal advice, and no legal or business decision should be based on its content.  No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.  Read full disclaimer.