Everyone knows “sex sells.” Every news outlet in the country is currently covering the Herman Cain sexual harassment scandal. No company wants or needs this kind of press.
Here is a list of dos and don’ts that will minimize the risk of your company making front-page headlines:
4. Do keep written records of the investigation. The “investigation file” should include notes, credibility assessments, lists of witnesses interviewed, lists of witnesses not interviewed (and the reason why), copies of emails, evidence, etc. If the integrity of the investigation is ever questioned, the company will need this file to establish that a thorough, unbiased investigation was conducted.
5. Don’t forget the findings, conclusions and follow-up action. These three pieces are critical. The investigator should render both the findings and the conclusion. “Findings” are the facts that were uncovered during the investigation. The “conclusion” is a determination of whether or not the evidence supports a reasonable probability that the allegations occurred. Avoid a conclusion that the investigation is “inconclusive.” Either there is evidence that supports the allegations, or there isn’t. The company, not the investigator, should decide what follow-up action will be taken based on the conclusions. Examples of follow-up action are discipline, termination and training.