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Investigating Workplace Harassment: How to Be Fair, Thorough, and Legal


By Amy Oppenheimer, J.D., and Craig Pratt, SPHR, MSW

2002, 204 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 978-1-58644-030-5

SHRMStore Item #: 61.14001


Available at the 


Also available as a PDF e-book through the SHRMStore.

Businesses can lose millions if they don’t investigate complaints of harassment quickly and effectively. Outside investigators may be required to breach the confidentiality so important in these situations. So, many companies are turning to their own HR professionals to do the job.

This book details specific, experience-tested techniques for investigating allegations of all types of harassment. With over 25 years of combined experience in cases of harassment, the authors provide advice on every step of an investigation—planning, documenting, interviewing, weighing evidence, making a decision, and taking remedial action.

Chock-full of examples from specific situations and lawsuits, Investigating Workplace Harassment is invaluable to readers new to the field and to those with some training or experience.

The authors provide advice on every step of an investigation-planning, documenting, interviewing, weighing evidence, making a decision, and taking remedial action. You can learn and practice skills in writing statements, assessing evidence, and conducting interviews using the book's exercises.

Read an Excerpt.


 Table of Contents




Preparing for an Investigation of Workplace Harassment

Investigations and the Law

Investigations: When to Do Them, Who Should Do Them and What to Investigate

Planning the Investigation


The Fact-Finding Process

Weighing the Evidence and Making a Decision

The Investigative Report

Remedial Actions

Post-Investigation Issues and Remedies


1. Answers to Self-Check Questions

2. Model Policy

3. Sample Witness Statements

4. Sample Introductions to Investigative Interviews

5. Sample Interviews, Notes and Statements

6. Sample Investigative Report

7. Sample Follow-up Letter

8. Bibliography


 About the Authors


Amy Oppenheimer, J.D., an attorney for over 20 years, is a recognized expert in the field of preventing and responding to workplace harassment. She is an administrative law judge for the California Unemployment Appeals Board. She is on the American Arbitration Association's panel of employment mediators and arbitrators. As a senior consultant, she has trained Fortune 500 and smaller companies in preventing harassment.

Craig Pratt, SPHR, MSW, is principal owner of a consulting firm providing expertise in HR management. He has conducted high-profile, large-scale investigations into harassment. He has consulted to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Fair Employment and Housing.