A hostile work environment is a workplace in which unwelcome comments or conduct based on gender, race, nationality, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or other legally protected characteristics unreasonably interfere with an employee’s work performance or create an intimidating or offensive work environment for the employee who is being harassed. The interview is typically a means to gather evidence, to clarify point made in a complaint, to find out what people saw, heard or experienced and also an opportunity for the person subject who is the subject of the complaint to provide their side of the story. In a hostile work environment case in which, let’s say a female employee is being harassed by a male coworker, it will be important to establish at what point the harassing remarks or behaviors began. A good question to ask would be, “Ok, Ashley, you mentioned that Mr. Jones groped you yesterday, as you were standing at his desk. Shaw is a partner in […] These can include requests for physical proof of the actions as well as times and dates of infractions. Conducting an investigation in a hostile environment. The Society for Human Resource Management’s addendum to the Dec. 6, 2010, online article, “How to Conduct an Investigation,” (available to SHRM members at www.shrm.org) suggests the following questions to ask in an employee complaint investigation: Internal Investigation Checklist Preface Employers are required by law to take prompt action to investigate complaints of harassment.1 This obligation arises upon immediate receipt of the complaint, and poses a duty upon the employer to ensure the complainant was provided with a 2014, may have created an unacceptable working environment for Ms. Randy, in violation of company policy (Employee Handbook, Section V. Sexual Harassment). Misconduct investigations are never easy for any HR manager. March 3, 2014 Recommendation Enterprise Inc. has a no tolerance policy against sexual harassment. Workplace Investigation Questions and the question of what and how to ask questions during an interview. To make the job a little easier, attorney Jennifer Brown Shaw offers her suggestions for how to brief and question the complaining employee, the accused employee, and witnesses. Based upon the evidence that has been collected, disciplinary action is recommended. Questions for a hostile work environment investigation should focus on obtaining as many details as possible from the party filing the compliant as well as from the allegedly offending parties. But they’re necessary and no one’s going to escape that duty for long. ... You will need to consider booking a room for the entire time of your visit, even for days that you think you might be working elsewhere; the last thing you will want to encounter is a logistical problem prior to a day of scheduled interviews.