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  6. Section 7: Resolving a harassment complaint through formal investigation
  1. Home
  2. Knowledge Base
  3. Workplace Reps
  4. Human Rights Issues
  5. Workplace Harassment Pocket Guide
  6. Section 7: Resolving a harassment complaint through formal investigation
  1. Home
  2. Knowledge Base
  3. Local Union Presidents and VP's
  4. Human Rights Issues
  5. Workplace Harassment Pocket Guide
  6. Section 7: Resolving a harassment complaint through formal investigation
UNIFOR Aug26-3793

If you cannot resolve the harassment complaint through an informal process, you will need to follow these steps to begin the formal investigation.

STEP 1: DETERMINE WHO SHOULD CONDUCT THE INVESTIGATION.

To determine the most appropriate person please read the section “Who investigates incidents of harassment”. Meet with that person to talk about the facts around the complaint. Inform the investigator of the facts, not your opinions of those facts. The investigator should now prepare for the investigation.

The following steps are for the person who is investigating the complaint.

STEP 2: READ THE NECESSARY BACKGROUND INFORMATION.

Read through General Guidelines for Conducting Interviews and General Guidelines for Record keeping in this guide.

STEP 3: GET A COPY OF THE UNIFOR HARASSMENT COMPLAINT FORM.

Check out the Forms section of the Knowledge Base (from the menu).  You will see a sample Unifor Harassment Complaint Form.   If your local does not have their own specific form, Workplace Representatives can use this form and complete it online.  The form includes tips and explanations to guide you through the process.   Remember to check first if your local has a joint union-management workplace harassment policy and form.

CONDUCTING A FULL & FAIR INVESTIGATION

DO:

  • take the issue seriously as soon as you hear of it – this will set the tone for the investigation
  • prepare in advance for interviews
  • be sensitive to the emotions and needs of the complainant
  • inform the alleged harasser about the complaint early on
  • make sure the alleged harasser has the opportunity to tell their side before any assumptions or decisions are made
  • interview all relevant witnesses
  • follow up on leads you get from the interviews
  • check out any inconsistencies
  • recognize and put aside your biases about the complainant, the alleged harasser, the witnesses, or the issue of harassment
  • keep the investigation going, even if the alleged harasser denies the allegation
  • keep the complainant informed – they shouldn’t have to find out about the results from someone else
  • keep the overall workplace climate in mind, not just the specific incident and people
  • keep accurate and detailed records
  • keep it confidential
  • educate yourself on the issues – acknowledge that you may have more to learn about these issues

DONT’S

  • jump to conclusions before completing the investigation
  • look for answers that will support these conclusions
  • use your own values of right and wrong to decide how the investigation gets resolved
  • take sides or give in to a ‘popularity contest’
  • delay the process – the conflict will only get worse

DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE IN PDF FORMAT

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