Formal Investigation

Reminder: The information provided in the Employer Toolkit and in this training are suggested best practices, and are not intended to provide legal advice. If you are uncertain at any point, please check with a lawyer on whether this information is appropriate for your organization. 

Guidance for when and how to conduct a formal investigation is provided in the Employer Best Practices Toolkit, including a sample investigation template, confidentiality agreement, and a sample investigation report

The sample Workplace Sexual Harassment Policy provides the following guidelines for conducting a formal investigation.

Where the [Position A] determines that a formal investigation is the appropriate response to a complaint of sexual harassment, the following steps will be taken: 

  1. provide written notice to the respondent that a complaint has been brought against them. Such notice will include:
    • a copy of the complaint;
    • a copy of this policy;
    • a review of the procedure that will be followed;
    • details of any steps to be taken to limit further contact between the complainant and the respondent;
    • details of available supports and resources; and
    • a reminder that the policy prohibits retaliation.
  2. give the respondent 15 business days to provide a formal written response to the complaint; and
  3. offer the complainant an opportunity to receive a copy of the respondent’s written response to the complaint, if one is received.

If the respondent does not provide a written response, written notice will be provided to the complainant and the respondent that the allegations are unchallenged. 

The investigation report shall be completed in a timely manner. To the extent possible, the investigation report should be completed within 30 business days of the date that the complaint was received. Where more time is required, written notice shall be provided to the complainant and the respondent before the 30 business days have passed.

 The [Position A] will interview and take statements from the complainant, the respondent, and any other witnesses that the [Position A] believes to have information relevant to the investigation. The Toolkit contains a sample interview form. Following each interview, the individual interviewed will be provided with a written summary of the interview and given a reasonable length of time to provide comments on its accuracy.

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