Have a plan for harassers in the C-suite.

 
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HR professionals usually know how to handle sexual harassment complaints against co-workers or supervisors:

  1. Conduct an investigation.

  2. Conclude what the facts are.

  3. 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.

When she...

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