When a California employee has a harassment complaint, human resources is supposed to talk to the accuser, the accused and any witnesses to the harassing behavior. Once that initial step has taken place, employees are supposed to be made aware of an investigation's findings. However, not all employers do this. In some cases, HR may try to claim that a complaint was never made or that an interview with a victim ever took place.
It is important to note that during the interview, an HR representative may be neutral at best to someone who is making a harassment complaint. It is also important to know that the contents of the conversation don't have to be kept a secret from anybody. Those who fear possible repercussions may ask to be transferred to another department if quitting isn't an option.
Payouts may be best left to an attorney to negotiate on a worker's behalf. Otherwise, a worker may agree to unreasonable clauses or leave money on the table. The best way to handle a meeting with HR is to come prepared with as much documentation as possible. This includes documentation of both the harassing behavior and the fact that a meeting took place. However, be aware that recording a person without their knowledge may be illegal.
Those who hear lewd jokes or are subject to unwanted sexual advances may be victims of sexual harassment. An attorney may work to prove that a demotion or termination occurred because of an unwillingness to accept such behavior. This may be done by talking to witnesses, looking at employee records or by disclosing comments made by the alleged offender.