When faced with an employee issue - whether an allegation of harassment, a general complaint, or a potential for trouble - the first thing to do is conduct a workplace investigation - pronto.
An independent investigation can alleviate much of the power of a lawsuit, because it shows that steps were taken to solve the issue in a deliberate and professional manner.
Howard University's hospital was recently the beneficiary of conducting an investigation. An independent review undertaken by the Hospital's senior officials satisfied the U.S. Appeals Court that the Hospital's decision to suspend an employee was free from any influence by her supervisor and the court reversed a jury's determination.
The case - Furline v. Morrison - is summarized very well by Karen Gieselman of Fisher & Phillips.