San Mateo Employment and Wrongful Termination Lawyer: Employer’s Duty to Investigate Harassment

The most significant immediate measure and employer may and should take in response to sexual harassment or another kind of harassment allegation by one employee against the other or against his or her supervisor is to launch a prompt and fair investigation to determine whether the complaint is justified. The employer must take temporary steps to deal with the situation while it determines whether the complaint is justified. Swenson v. Potter (9th Cir. 2001) 271 F3d 1184. The greater the potential injury to the complaining employee, the greater care the employer must take in investigation harassment allegations and preventing the alleged harassment from recurring or escalating.

The employer must conduct an investigation even if the alleged harasser denies the accusation and the victim wishes to drop the matter. The employer must investigate from “worst case scenario” in order to avoid exposing other employees to the alleged misconduct. Malik v. Carrier Corp. (2nd Cir. 2000) 202 F3d 97. A reasonable investigation does not require a trial-type proceeding. The inquiry may be conducted informally in a manner that will not unnecessarily disrupt the company’s business.

If you believe that you are or have been a victim of harassment at work place in San Francisco, San Mateo/South Bay or East Bay regions, you might be entitled to legal protection. If you would like to discuss your situation at workplace, feel free to contact us by phone or by filling out the form on this page.