Investigator

Posted April 3rd, 2014 by Duken

Goals

Represent Interests of Employer

The investigator is in most cases hired/employed by the institution in which the harassment allegedly occurred. The primary interest of an investigator thus is to represent the interests of the employer.

Fair Investigation

Most investigators will hold themselves also to an internal standard, and try to conduct an investigation that is fair to all parties.

Personal Satisfaction

Most investigators will want to get satisfaction out of how they deal with the situation.  Investigators may have a personal bias and they may hope that “their party” wins. For example, a feminist investigator may somehow bias the investigation towards the victim while a member of the “old-boys-club” might inadvertently favor the alleged harasser.

Limit Work

The investigator typically has other important responsibilities in addition to the investigation, and will thus try to limit the amount of time and effort that goes into the investigation to the necessary minimum.

(RE-)actions

Slow Investigation

A slow investigation has several advantages.  It limits the workload of the investigator, and it will emotionally wear out both the victim and the alleged harasser, thus making it less likely that they will fight the outcome of the investigation. The initial “temporary” solution (e.g., leave of absence for victim or alleged harasser) often becomes the new status quo.

Superficial Investigation

If the investigator or employer is biased towards the alleged harasser, a superficial investigation is unlikely to uncover undesirable evidence.

Acceptable Investigation

Investigations often become suddenly more serious if one of the parties hires a lawyer, because then the employer and the investigator have a strong interest in avoiding obvious flaws in the investigation.

Thorough Investigation

The main reason for conducting a very thorough investigation is a personal commitment of the employer and/or investigator.  However, even highly motivated investigators cannot be effective if the employer does not truly support their efforts.  Also, the investigation is made difficult if the investigator is not sufficiently trained for the job, or is not perceived as sufficiently powerful within the organization.

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