Monday, September 15, 2008

Investigator Q & A

I'm not recovering as quickly as I'd like from this back and neck pain. So, here's a reprint of some of the questions you can expect to be asked by an investigator, when and if you file and external complaint about race-based harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation.

--Who is bullying, intimidating, discriminating or retaliating against you?

--What specifically happened?

--What comments were made?

--What actions were taken?

--Was this a one-time incident? What day and time did this occur?

-- If this happened more than once, how many times were you subjected to this behavior, these actions, etc.? (Describe each situation)

--Is it still continuing?

--If so, what was the most recent incident?

--What was the impact? (State the professional and personal consequences that occurred as a result of the actions taken against you)

Think about tangible employment actions, which are any actions taken by employers or their agents that impact hiring, firing, promotions, transfers, disability etc. Tangible employment actions are negative changes in your employment status.

--Describe how certain actions led to you being denied a promotion or terminated from your job, etc.

--Are you now being subjected to an offensive work environment marked by intimidation, harassment, bullying, disparate/unequal treatment, etc.? If so, describe these conditions.

--How did you respond to the situation?

--Who did you speak to/report the incident to? List dates, times, and responses.

--What specifically did you tell them? Describe fully—this will help you keep track of what authority figures knew and when they knew it.

--Did you correspond with your superiors or Human Resources in writing? If so, list names, dates of correspondence, and responses. (Note: If you participate in face-to-face meetings, you should always follow-up the meetings with a quick email in order to create an undeniable record of what transpired.)

--Did you address the individual who is the perpetrator of this incident? What was their response? Did you come to a solution?

--Who are your witnesses? List their names, titles, and the dates of incidences they observed.

--Who else has been harassed, etc. by this person? List their names and any information that is available regarding their harassment, including dates or the approximate time frame of the mistreatment and illegal activities.

--Does the perpetrator have any outstanding complaints against him/her? List specifics, if available.

--How would you like to resolve this issue?

--What would you like to happen? (Your dream scenario)

--What is the minimum that you would find as an acceptable solution to resolve the problem? For instance, you may only want an apology from the perpetrator or you may want an apology, restitution of your salary, and the perpetrator to be placed in training that is appropriate for the offense they committed (e.g., diversity training).

You will also be asked to answer/refute any allegations your employer mentioned to the investigator. So, there may be a whole host of questions that can't be predicted because the questions will depend on how your employer handles the situation. If your employer wants to hit you hard and wants to discredit you (typical), you may have numerous allegations to respond to that you've never heard of before.

If you have to respond to written employer allegations that were made to an investigator, be sure to READ EVERYTHING CAREFULLY!! You don't want to let any allegation slip through the cracks without having your response/the truth on record with the investigator.

PLEASE NOTE: If you file an internal complaint, your HR department may ask similar questions to those listed here. However, if there is the desire for a cover-up, you shouldn't expect to be asked many questions. You might be subjected to more and new allegations. So, just be mentally prepared for anything!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are great questions for documentation. And may work well in the short to mid term, but at the end of the day it is a matter of who will listen and take it seriously. Yes, there are few success stories; but the majority of cases are not brought to light because of the fear of losing one's job or fear of esculating matters further. At the end of the day you're most like fighting for your employment insurance benefits -nothing more, nothing less. If a company full of liberal racists want to fire a black person, they are going to do it. It will be by ommission of information, heaping heavy work loads, excessive surveillance, malicious lies and innuendo, alienation from the team, badgering you in front of others and behind close doors, getting or coercising others to continue abuse towards you by proxy, denying requests for transfers, abusing disciplinary procedures and using them as weapons against you, promoting lesser qualified individuals to positions you've applied too,list is endless. These people know how to go under the radar. You're lucky if you catch a stupid one - but mostget away with it.

10:19 AM  

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