The outpouring of recent allegations against a variety of high-profile individuals has led to a renewed seriousness in the discussion of sexual harassment in the workplace. Determining the facts in a sexual harassment case is a particularly sensitive and complicated endeavor, and so it is critical for companies to employ specialists who are able to act with discretion and a precise focus. Here, the computer forensics specialists at Atlantic Data Forensics explain how a sexual harassment investigation can be bolstered by the use of a computer forensics team.
Harvey Weinstein, Brett Ratner, Kevin Spacey, Chris Savino, Louis C.K, James Toback, George Takei, Mark Halperin, Charlie Rose, Roy Price, Former President George H. W. Bush, Michael Oreskes, Glenn Thrush, and just recently, Matt Lauer—these men were once only famous for their respective contributions to the entertainment, political or broadcasting and journalism spheres. But now, each of them has become famous—or rather, infamous—for a different reason entirely: they have all been accused of inappropriate behavior, sexual harassment, misconduct, assault or even rape.
And the list does not end with these 14 men—since the initial bombshell reports of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged harassment, assaults and rapes perpetrated against dozens of victims, more than fifty high-profile individuals have also been accused of a wide range of inappropriate or illegal behaviors. And, based on poignant discussions through the use of the #MeToo campaign, the allegations show no sign of slowing or stopping.
There are many lessons companies can, and should, learn from these recent controversies, but perhaps one of the most important is establishing a clear protocol for reporting and handling sexual harassment claims. If an employee reports a claim of sexual harassment, it is vital for the claim to move through the proper channels, so that it can be handled rapidly, and in a manner consistent with professional and legal guidelines.
In order to seek an appropriate solution, a company must first investigate the claim, and collect evidence showing exactly what happened. Digital evidence that can be valuable in a sexual harassment investigation may include sent and received emails or text messages—which may include explicit pictures or images—call history and analysis of interoffice chat applications. Sexual harassment claims can be complex, not to mention troubling for all parties involved, and enlisting the expert assistance of a computer forensics team ensures that vital digital evidence is collected and documented in a forensically sound manner for review by Human Resources, management or legal or criminal investigatory professionals. And, should allegations become formal accusations within the justice system, a digital forensic team—like Atlantic Data Forensics—will be able to provide expert testimony regarding the evidence compiled.
Speed, discretion and expert knowledge is required when investigating a sexual harassment claim. As one of the leading computer forensics experts in the field, Atlantic Data Forensics is able to meet all of these needs for their clients, ensuring the issue is handled and resolved in a way that is sensitive to the needs and rights of the organization, victim and individual being investigated until all of the facts are known. The thorough manner in which we provide our services also protects the affected organization from future allegations of a mismanaged, substandard or inappropriate investigation regarding the issue.
The goal of a sexual harassment investigation by an organization should be to uncover the truth, find the evidence that supports the truth and use these facts to determine an appropriate resolution: ensure that these goals are met by enlisting the services of Atlantic Data Forensics. For more information about how we can help your business, contact us today.