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  6. Section 10: Interviewing the alleged harasser
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  5. Workplace Harassment Pocket Guide
  6. Section 10: Interviewing the alleged harasser
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  2. Knowledge Base
  3. Local Union Presidents and VP's
  4. Human Rights Issues
  5. Workplace Harassment Pocket Guide
  6. Section 10: Interviewing the alleged harasser

STEP 1: EXPLAIN THE PURPOSE OF THE MEETING.

Here is an example of what you might say:

“Jack, I’ve been asked to conduct an investigation into an allegation of harassment. The complaint has been made against you by one of our members. I’m going to explain the allegation and then you’ll have a chance to tell your side of the story. But first, I want to tell you about the investigation process. I’ll try to answer any questions that you have. My role is to conduct a full and fair investigation and ensure that the employer maintains a harassment-free
workplace.”

STEP 2: EXPLAIN THE PROCESS OF THE INVESTIGATION.

Go over the Unifor Workplace Harassment Policy (and the employer’s policy) with the alleged harasser. Explain the process of the investigation. Let them know that you will need to write down notes during your conversation.

STEP 3: LET THE PERSON KNOW THEIR RIGHTS.

Explain that they have the right to a full investigation and that you will make every effort to ensure confidentiality. They should also ensure this process is confidential. Make it clear that you will need to talk to witnesses about the case.

STEP 4: EXPLAIN THE FACTS.

Recite the facts of the situation as related to you by the complainant. Provide specific details.

STEP 5: LET THE PERSON AGREE OR DISAGREE.

Go through the facts again, step-by-step. Pause to give the alleged harasser the chance to agree or disagree. Let them say what they admit to and what they deny.

STEP 5A: ADMITTING THE HARASSMENT.

If the alleged harasser admits to the behaviour, explain that the behaviour is unwelcome. It must stop. Let the person know that disciplinary action may be taken against them. You must also advise them of their right to dispute any discipline.

STEP 5B: DENYING THE ALLEGED HARASSMENT.

If the alleged harasser denies the behaviour, ask them again about each specific part of the incident. Ask the person to clarify, for each incident, which part they admit to doing and which part they deny.

STEP 6: ASK FOR WITNESSES.

Ask if there are any witnesses who can give evidence about whether or not the behaviour took place or could not reasonably have taken place (for example, the alleged harasser was somewhere else at the time).

STEP 7: ASK ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS IF THE ALLEGED HARASSER IS A SUPERVISOR.

If the complaint includes an alleged abuse of supervisory power, you can ask the following questions (after you’ve gone through the process outlined above):

  • Can you explain your action(s)?
  • Do you have written records or evidence to support your explanation?
  • How do you explain the difference (if any) between how you treated, managed, evaluated the complainant compared with her/his co-workers?
  • If the complainant was disciplined or promoted, were other workers judged by the same criteria or process
  • How do you explain your change (if any) in treatment/behaviour of the complainant after the complaint was filed?

STEP 8: TELL THE ALLEGED HARASSER NOT TO TALK TO THE COMPLAINANT.

Advise the alleged harasser that they should not confront or talk with the complainant (or anyone else in the workplace) about the harassment investigation or allegations. Any attempt to ‘get back at’ the complainant will not be tolerated. Retaliation is treated as an even more serious offence than the action that led to the complaint.

STEP 9: STATE THE ALLEGATION.

Before the interview ends, you should tell the alleged harasser exactly what the allegations are, even if they are not cooperating. This is to prevent them from saying later in a hearing that no one told them what they were accused of.

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