Respond to a Complaint of Discrimination or Sexual Harassment

Letter #1


We have just received your complaint alleging sexual harassment by one of our salesmen. We have begun an immediate investigation. Several steps are required by the Fair Practices Act. You will receive the results of our investigation within 20 working days. The idea that this is happening in our store has disturbed us greatly, and we want you to know that we will not tolerate sexual harassment in any form. Thank you for your letter.

Letter #2


I have carefully reviewed your claim that your supervisor, John Doe, has been using his position of authority over you to encourage a personal relationship. Please know that I am concerned about this alleged problem within our company and that I am investigating your complaint, according to the policies and procedures outlined in your employee handbook.

Furthermore, in order to avoid difficult or uncomfortable circumstances, I am temporarily reassigning you to a new department until this matter is resolved. Please come to my office first thing tomorrow morning, so I can brief you on your temporary assignment.

Letter #3


I was distressed upon reading your complaint regarding the treatment you received from the shift manager. I am investigating her managerial style. I must talk with several co-workers and then speak to the legal department. You can expect to hear about the results in two weeks. The age discrimination you describe is a serious matter. I will look into it from many vantage points. Rest assured, no such discriminatory behavior will be tolerated in my production plant.

Letter #4


I just received your disturbing complaint of sexual harassment and forwarded it to our human resources department for investigation. According to the procedures outlined in your Employee Handbook, you should hear from us within 20 days. If the problem you describe makes work uncomfortable for you, I am willing to reassign you until we resolve this matter--and it will be resolved.

How to Write this Response Letter: Expert Tips and Guidelines

This letter must show that you take the complaint very seriously and that you are taking appropriate steps to resolve the situation. Avoid communicating feelings of prejudice. This letter must be serious and professional.


  1. Acknowledge receiving the complaint and show that you take it seriously.
  2. Explain the investigative process and tell the employee when he or she can expect to hear the results of the investigation.
  3. Reassure the employee that the company will resolve the issue equitably and that you will not tolerate harassment or discriminatory practices.

Write Your response in Minutes: Easy Step-by-Step Guide with Sample Sentences and Phrases

1 Acknowledge receiving the complaint and show that you take it seriously.

Sample Sentences for Step 1

  • Your recent charges of discrimination are disturbing.
  • I have received your letter dated June 1, and my office has started investigating your charges of sexual harassment.
  • This office is presently processing your discrimination charge.
  • We have received and are in the process of reviewing your complaint about sexual harassment.
  • I have received the discrimination complaint you made regarding the floor supervisor, Mr. John Doe.
  • We have received your letter complaining about sexual harassment. Please be assured that we will carefully and thoroughly investigate this matter.
  • I want to assure you that we are reviewing the complaint you filed concerning racial discrimination, and that we will carefully investigate it.

Key Phrases for Step 1

  • take any charge of sexual harassment seriously
  • any racial discrimination complaint is
  • assure you that the complaint you filed recently will
  • this office is processing
  • dealt with in the most fair and equitable way possible
  • have received and reviewed the charge of discrimination
  • have received and am in the process of reviewing your charges
  • are currently investigating
  • office has started investigating your charges
  • received your letter dated
  • received your racial discrimination complaint
  • recent discrimination charges are disturbing
  • regarding your supervisor
  • rest assured that we are taking the necessary steps
  • have received the sexual harassment complaint
  • thoroughly investigate this matter
  • want to assure you that the complaint you recently filed
  • will thoroughly investigate this matter
2 Explain the investigative process and tell the employee when he or she can expect to hear the results of the investigation.

Sample Sentences for Step 2

  • An investigation into the allegations will start with a meeting of the Fair Employment Practices Team tomorrow. You can expect to be interviewed as part of this inquiry. You will be notified of their findings within 30 days.
  • We are following the steps outlined in your Employee Handbook. To avoid the possibility of reprisals against you, we are reassigning you to the bakery for 45 days until we complete the investigation.
  • We will carefully investigate your allegations, which, if verified, will result in swift action against the guilty parties.
  • This office will investigate the charges you have made. We will interview both you and your supervisor, and any other employees who may have witnessed inappropriate behavior. Also, we will be happy to answer any questions you may have and expect to inform you of the results of this investigation no later than August 31.
  • Your Employee Handbook outlines the remaining steps in the investigation (pages 29-30). You can expect to know the results within 30 days.
  • Our investigation of these charges will take about 28 days, after which we will notify you of the results.
  • An impartial panel will investigate the charges, and you can expect to be notified of their decision within 30 days.

Key Phrases for Step 2

  • after an impartial panel thoroughly investigated the charges
  • will thoroughly investigate all allegations
  • as per company policy
  • at which time you will be notified of the decision
  • reassigned to the pathology laboratory
  • can expect to know the results of this process no later than
  • decision of this committee is final and binding on both parties
  • Employee Handbook outlines the steps to be followed
  • have questions in the interim
  • if corroborated will result in
  • investigation into the allegations began
  • make a decision about the charges
  • might result from filing such charges
  • next meeting is scheduled for
  • no more than 60 days from the date of the initial complaint
  • other employees who may have witnessed inappropriate actions
  • outlines the steps to be taken next
  • pending the outcome of these investigations
  • render its decision regarding your complaint
  • results of that investigation should be available within
  • should hear something in the way of findings no later than
  • should alleviate any concerns
  • thorough investigation of this matter will take approximately
  • will notify you of the findings within
  • will be rendered in a hearing to be held
  • will evaluate the complaint and all pertinent testimony
3 Reassure the employee that the company will resolve the issue equitably and that you will not tolerate harassment or discriminatory practices.

Sample Sentences for Step 3

  • We value all our employees and are determined to treat them all fairly. There is no room at Doe's for any discrimination on the grounds of race or sex.
  • We will do everything we can to resolve this situation. We take charges of harassment very seriously and act on them swiftly.
  • Rest assured that we will not tolerate violations of our fair practices code.
  • We are committed to nondiscriminatory hiring and promotion policies, and will not condone any practice that violates these principles.
  • We will not tolerate harassment at Doe's and we will deal harshly with offenders.
  • If these allegations of discrimination are substantiated, we will deal with them quickly and fairly.
  • Know that we take your charges seriously and intend to resolve this matter as swiftly and equitably as possible.
  • We are sure you share our desire to resolve this situation as quickly as possible, and we will do whatever it takes to get to the bottom of the matter.

Key Phrases for Step 3

  • agency prides itself on its commitment to
  • can be certain that
  • company values all its employees
  • does not condone any practice which violates these principles
  • does not tolerate racial or ethnic discrimination
  • equal hiring and promotional practices
  • harassment under any circumstance is serious
  • if racial discrimination practices can be substantiated
  • including criminal prosecution, if it is warranted
  • make every effort necessary to eliminate these practices
  • makes no decisions based on matters of sex or race
  • neither condones nor tolerates violations of its work code
  • rest assured that this company will
  • share our desire to resolve this matter as quickly as possible
  • something our organization can ill afford and will not tolerate
  • such allegations, if substantiated, will result in
  • thank you for bringing this situation to my attention
  • will deal swiftly with violations
  • want to resolve the matter as expeditiously as possible
  • whatever steps are necessary to rectify the problem
  • when charges such as yours are brought
  • will do whatever is necessary to get to the bottom of this
  • will uphold the fair practices doctrine of the company
  • will deal harshly with the offender