The person or person(s) selected to do the investigation should be objective. They should not be the alleged source of harassment and should not be under the direct control of that person.
The investigator should be familiar with circumstances surrounding the situation including:
- Details of the allegations (sometimes some or all of these are not obtained until the interview with the complainant)
- Details of the reply to the complaint (again, some or all of this information will be obtained in an interview with the respondent)
- The parties’ work positions and their working relationship
- Internal Policy and Procedures, collective agreements (where they exist) and applicable human rights and occupational health and safety legislation
Questions should be prepared in advance. However, one question will lead to another so further probing and questions must be anticipated.
Best practice is to conduct interviews in neutral locations private from the view or knowledge of other parties and witnesses, for example, a meeting room outside the workplace. However, this is not always practical considering time frames and possible workplace disruptions. On the shop floor is never a good idea but a private board room in the human resources office might be a good compromise. Avoid situations where interviewees sit in the same waiting area or meet on the way in or out of the interview.
Interviews are always with one individual. However, parties and witnesses are entitled to a representative or supporter. A representative might be mandatory in a unionized environment. The representative or supporter is not to answer questions or interfere with the process. If they wish to discuss an issue with the interviewee, the interview should be halted, so that they can speak briefly in private, before continuing.
Any special needs, including an interpreter, should be accommodated.