HR professionals usually know how to handle sexual harassment complaints against co-workers or supervisors:
Conduct an investigation.
Conclude what the facts are.
Discipline if it's clear the harassment occurred.
But what if the alleged harasser sits high in the company chain of command--say at the top of the org chart? How should you handle an investigation of the most powerful people in your organization?
In the era of #MeToo, you need to have a plan in place for exactly that contingency. Many of the past year's highest-profile harassment cases have implicated executives who occupy the C-suite. Best bet: HR should automatically refer such complaints to the company's attorney and/or its board of directors.
Recent case: The EEOC filed suit against Blackwater, a Miami-based security service, claiming the company's owner repeatedly harassed one of his female employees. He allegedly asked her to join him in a sexual threesome, stroked her hair as she tried to work and repeatedly called her at home.