Are sexual harassment investigations confidential?

Dec 09, 16 Are sexual harassment investigations confidential?

Sexual harassment is common in most modern workplaces and can include unwelcome sexual or romantic advances, sexual blackmail, offensive touching, discussions of intimate activities that make others uncomfortable, etc. It is also important to understand what happens to the accused, especially if the sexual harassment claim is determined to be unfounded.

 In most situations the accused that is found to be innocent does not always receive justice and can some times be terminated without any further review. Filing a case on defamation against ones character can be away of receiving damages from lost income and personal embarrassment, but can often be costly and be difficult to prove.

This raises the question, about why the accused and the accusers names are not left confidential, until the case is proven. Often this happened for the accuser, but does not remain confidential in regards to the accused. This can be a problem to employees who have been wrongly accused of sexually harassing an employee.

It is wise for employers to implement policies that keep such matters confidential for the employees concerned. Implementing a policy will also reduce the company from being exposed to claims regarding wrongful termination, slander, or other claims. Employers should also follow the same rule and limit reference calls to only verifying dates of employment and eligibility for re-hire.

To implement the best practices for sexual harassment, it is advisable to consult corporate counsel for guidance on the best practices for your business.