Harassment and discrimination investigations in California should be conducted by the employer whenever the alleged victim contends that the wrongful conduct was motivated (at least in part) by the alleged victim being a member of any of the following classes:

Age (40 and over);



Religious Creed;

Denial of Family and Medical Care Leave;

Many reasons exist to conduct an internal investigation of an employee complaint of unlawful conduct (or violation of employer’s policy). To name a few:

  • Employers may need to comply with a particular law compelling an investigation.
  • Employer may need to comply with its own policies stating that an investigation will be conducted under the circumstances

investigations should be conducted in cases where no one formally complains yet the employer has learned of a claim of wrongdoing via an anonymous tip, citizen complaint, rumor, hearsay, or third-party employee complaining on behalf of the victim. An employer can be charged with constructive notice of the alleged wrongdoing, even if no one complains

In deciding whether an employee complaint rises to the level of alleged illegal activity or company policy violations, employers should interpret the incoming complaint very broadly and err on the conservative side by investigating anything that comes remotely close to illegal activity or company policy violations—especially if the allegations are against a supervisor (due to

In sexual harassment investigations, it is often the case that harassment occurs behind closed doors, with no witnesses, and it becomes a "he said-she said" scenario.  Instead of reaching a finding that the allegations were "sustained", "not sustained", or "unfounded", I have heard of investigators reaching an "inconclusive" conclusion, and in such an instance, the