1.00.00 – INTRODUCTION
There are no uniform rules for investigating alleged harassment or of discrimination. It is imperative to speak with the complainant and the alleged harasser, and it may be necessary to interview others and to review documentary material. In all cases, harassment complaints and discrimination must be addressed.
Where a matter entails alleged ongoing ill treatment, the need for prompt action is indicated. In all cases, discretion and respect for the affected individuals' privacy and reputation are a must.
This document details the guidelines for investigating a harassment or discrimination complaint between two members. In that situation, the Vice Presidents of Membership and Education are responsible for investigation.
In the case that a member or employee who feels they have a cause for grievance against an employee, or any employee who feels they have cause for a grievance against a member, the President and the Executive Director are responsible for the investigation. Their titles can be substituted throughout this document in the case of an employee grievance.
1.00.01 – INVESTIGATIONS
Under the SHC Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy, the Vice President of Membership and the Vice President of Education take responsibility for processing complaints of harassment and discrimination.
A member who believes that they have been discriminated against or harassed by another member may complain either to the Vice President of Education or the Vice President of Membership in writing. Whichever of the Vice Presidents receives the written complaint shall take the role of investigating officer. The investigating officer shall inform the Executive Director and the non-investigating Vice President of the existence of the complaint and will thereafter report to both on the status of the investigation.
If the Vice President receiving the complaint doubts their ability to conduct the investigation, they will defer the role of investigating officer to the other Vice President. In the case that neither Vice President can conduct the investigation, the Executive Director will take the role of investigating officer.
Administrative actions should be undertaken deliberately, but promptly:
1.00.02 – ANONYMOUS OR THIRD PARTY COMPLAINTS
If you receive an anonymous complaint, encourage the complainant to give their name. If you receive a complaint from a person who is not the alleged victim of the alleged harassment, encourage the complainant to get the alleged victim to come forward. It is difficult to investigate a complaint, draw conclusions about it, or otherwise be helpful if you do not know who the complainant is or if the alleged victim will not confirm the charge. Depending on the evidence provided and the severity of the alleged harassment, however, you may have to investigate an anonymous or third party complaint.
1.00.03 – FACT GATHERING PROCESS
10.00.04 – EVALUATING THE SITUATION
1.00.05 – PREPARATION OF A REPORT DISPOSING OF FACTUAL ISSUES AND STATING ACTIONS
Prepare a written report, including a chronological rendition of the factual findings, the action to be taken, and the rationale for any actions, or proposed actions names and identifying details of the situation are to be excluded. The report should contain the following elements:
1.00.06 – MEETINGS WITH THE COMPLAINANT AND ACCUSED
Meet separately with the complainant and accused to discuss the report.
Where the investigation reveals no harassment, such should be directly stated. Where it is determined that sexual harassment did occur, the harasser should be provided a copy of the report and an opportunity to ask any questions that they may have. Where the allegations are serious, but it is impossible to determine whether sexual harassment occurred, the alleged harasser should be informed and state that the evidence is inconclusive, but that serious allegations have been made, and include a reminder of the Guidelines for Investigating Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Complaints (Appendix A).
1.00.07 – RECORDS
a. Confidentiality of administrative file. The investigating officer’s investigative papers should be kept in a confidential folder.
b. Disciplinary records. If complaint is substantiated, and disciplinary action taken, the record of the action should be kept in the harassers’ member file.
1.00.08 – SPECIAL SITUATIONSS
These situations may arise and should be discussed with the non-investigating Vice President before proceeding with the investigation:
a. If you believe the complainant has knowingly filed a false complaint or that the complainant, the alleged harasser, or a witness has knowingly misled you, provided false information or otherwise impeded your investigation;
b. The alleged harasser attempts to retaliate against the complainant or any witness;
c. The confidentiality of the investigation is breached;
d. The complainant says that they only want to let you know about the harassment, but does not want you to do anything about it (a request that you will probably not be able to honor);
e. There have been other sexual harassment complaints against the accused.