DEAR DAWG: Now how exactly am I supposed to investigate a sexual harassment complaint when the complaining party refuses to put anything in writing?

DEAR DAWG: I’ve got an employee who has made a complaint of sexual harassment, but he refuses to give me anything in writing. I think the guy is paranoid about Russian hackers or something, but he’s just adamant about this. Doesn’t this make it more difficult for me to have a good paper trail of what we are looking into, and what we are doing about it?  WANT TO HAVE A GOOD PAPER TRAIL!

DEAR WANT TO:  I guess you’ve been to a lot of legal conferences, and heard the lawyers repeatedly emphasize the importance of that paper trail.  You are right—if the employee does not put anything in writing, it makes your job harder.  But take a look at your policies about this.  I’m looking at one anonymous district’s DIA Local and it says:

The District may request, but shall not insist upon, a written report.  If a report is made orally, the District official shall reduce the report to written form.

 So there you have it.  There will be a paper trail--you create it.  Obviously, you would want to go over that carefully with the person who made the oral complaint to ensure its accuracy. But if you have similar policy language, then the burden is on the district to make sure we have reduced the complaint to writing.


 File this one under: SEXUAL HARASSMENT