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Can we penalize the party accused of harassment while the investigation is going on?

No. In short, this is never a good idea. A thorough investigation is imperative to ensure that someone is proven guilty, and until that time they are effectively presumed innocent. 

However, there may be allegations which would lead you to want an accused employee out of the workplace as soon as possible. In cases of sexual harassment for example, you may have serious and valid concerns about leaving an employee in place for some time while an investigation takes place. These concerns may be valid, but the flip side can be dangerous as well. If a thorough third-party investigation proves that the allegations were incorrect or unfounded, and the accused is innocent, then premature discipline will likely be seen as a bad faith punitive measure.

Instead, consider suspending the employee with pay until the investigation is complete. This is not a punitive measure, and will not impact the employee financially either. It may seem like a bitter pill to swallow given the nature of the allegations, but it may ultimately prove less expensive than a legal claim for bad faith. 

Employment Lawyers - Rudner Law
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Rudner Law
15 Allstate Parkway
Suite 600
Markham, ON
L3R 5B4

Phone: 416-864-8500
Text: 416-864-8500


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