Questions To Ask In An Employee Complaint Investigation

The Society for Human Resource Management’s addendum to the Dec. 6, 2010, online article, “How to Conduct an Investigation,” (available to SHRM members at suggests the following questions to ask in an employee complaint investigation:

Questions for the Accuser

  1. Who committed the alleged inappropriate behavior?
  2. What exactly happened?
  3. How did you react?
  4. Did you ever indicate that you were offended or somehow displeased by the act or offensive treatment?
  5. When did the incident occur or is it ongoing?
  6. Where did the incident occur?
  7. Who else may have seen or heard the incident?
  8. Have you discussed the incident with anyone?
  9. How has the behavior affected you and your job?
  10. Did you seek any medical treatment or counseling as a result of the incident?
  11. When did you first learn of the company’s anti-harassment and EEO policy?
  12. Is there anyone else who may have relevant information?
  13. Do you have any other relevant information?
  14. What action do you want the company to take?

Questions for Witnesses

  1. Please describe any inappropriate or offensive behavior that you have experienced or witnessed. What did you see or hear? When did this occur? How often did it occur?
  2. Are you aware of behavior by the accused toward the complainant or toward others in the workplace?
  3. What did the complainant tell you? When did he or she tell you this?
  4. Do you know if the complainant reported the concern to his or her
  5. Upon knowledge of the incident(s), did you report it to your supervisor?
  6. Do you have any notes, physical evidence or other documentation regarding the incident(s)?
  7. Do you know of any other relevant information?
  8. Are there other persons who have relevant information?

This is just an overview. This article is for informative purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. You need to consult your experts, such as human resource consultant, attorney, to be aware of federal, local and state regulations and exceptions.

Mary Dunlap, CFPÒ, of Mary Dunlap Consulting, helps financial planning firms attract, develop and retain the best people for their teams. She is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management.