All businesses want to believe that the environment they provide for their employees is safe and free from harassment. So what happens when an employee says that he or she is dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace? What steps need to be taken in order to deal with the situation effectively? Everything begins with workplace investigations. It can take some time and will involve multiple employees but often, lots of information is brought to light, making it easier to determine what should happen next. Don’t underestimate the power of a thorough investigation.

Talk to Everyone Involved

The list can seem long when it comes to people who may or may not have knowledge about the situation. But overlooking one or two people could mean that critical information is left out of the investigation. Take the time to meet with people individually and get as much information as possible. Ideally, be sure to tread lightly. Questioning doesn’t necessarily mean telling everyone involved what the investigation is about. Instead, look to stay neutral and allow information to come out. If there are accusation about harassment happening, be sure to pin down a date and time if possible.

Document Everything

During interviews and other situations that come up as you investigate a workplace matter, be sure to document everything. Relying just on memory isn’t going to work. Eventually, no matter how things turn out, it will be important to have proof of the investigation. This will help support any decision the company makes, especially if any action is going to be taken against the accused Should harassment continue to take place, the documentation could also come in handy. Showing an ongoing problem could change the actions taken against the employee that is harassing others.

Follow Through and Follow Up

Once the investigation is complete, it is important to determine if any action needs to be taken. This is where many companies drop the ball. If action is going to be taken, make sure to follow through. Make sure that these actions are also well documented. Finally, be sure to follow up. Make sure to check in on both parties to ensure that the harassment isn’t continuing to happen.