Formal Investigation

The Employer Best Practices Toolkit provides a sample of a Sexual Harassment Complaint Form. This form should be filled out when you are made aware of a complaint of sexual harassment in the workplace. 

The Toolkit also provides a sample interview form and checklist for responding to a complaint. 

The sample policy reviews the process to implement these tools into your process. 

Notice to the respondent should include the following: 

  • Copy of the complaint;
  • Copy of the policy;
  • Review of the procedure;
  • Details of further steps;
  • Details of available supports; and
  • Reminder that the policy prohibits retaliation. 

It’s important to conclude the investigation process as quickly as possible so the work on repairing any harms can begin. The sample policy provides a 30 day timeline to complete the investigation process. It’s likely achievable with a straightforward complaint. If the complaint is more complex, it’s okay to extend the timeline. In this case, ensure that both the respondent and complainant are informed. 

The sample policy gives the Respondent 15 days to respond. 

If the Respondent does not reply in writing, it’s considered that they do not deny the allegation. You can offer alternative options for accessibility reasons, such as recorded audio or video.

The Toolkit contains an interview form to use when interviewing complainant, respondent or any witnesses to the complaint. After the interview, it’s important to provide a copy of the interview form and time for them to review to confirm accuracy. Alternatively, you can provide the interviewee a copy of your written notes to review at the time of the interview and they can sign at the bottom of the notes to confirm accuracy.

The interviewee could also provide a written statement as opposed to being interviewed. This written statement should be signed and dated. 

All parties should sign a confidentiality agreement. A sample confidentiality agreement can be found in the toolkit. 

If there is any other relevant evidence, such as social media posts, text messages, or emails, these should also be gathered as a part of the investigation process. 

Important Links