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How to Investigate Sexual Harassment

NCJ Number
Security Management Volume: 31 Issue: 12 Dated: (December 1987) Pages: 32-38
M E Connell
Date Published
7 pages
This article discusses investigation of a sexual harassment complaint so that productivity is enhanced and liability limited.
Sexual harassment is unlawful discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; prohibited conduct was promulgated by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The employer determines actionable severity of the complaint, and the inquiry should focus on whether the harasser's conduct was based on a discriminatory intent. Recent court actions have recognized two forms of sexual harassment for which an employer could be liable: quid pro quo harassment and hostile environmental harassment. The investigator should be sensitive to the concerns of both the complainant and the accused harasser. The structure and scope of the investigation are described in detail. Supreme Court rulings in Meritor Vinson on information gathered pursuant to any inquiry in preparation for litigation are discussed; this article addresses internal investigations designed to reveal the truth to an employer in hopes of avoiding such litigation. 2 illustrations and 29 footnotes.