How to Properly Handle a Workplace Investigation

By adhering strictly to ethical standards, companies can avoid most employee claims. Complaints, however, are ultimately at the discretion of the individual and are not always predictable or preventable. Therefore, it is important to focus on mitigating the impact of potential claims by conducting appropriate research at work when necessary.

How to Properly Handle a Workplace Investigation

An investigation must be conducted each time an employee reports a serious misconduct, misconduct or ethical error. A company that carries out a poor job investigation risks both its finances and its reputation.

In a labor dispute, an internal investigation of the employer may sabotage the employer’s case and open a direct route to an expensive solution. Failure to carry out this common and necessary internal procedure will further embarrass a company that is already in difficulties by combining the optical effects of the plaintiff’s claim with a dose of self-conscious incapacity. Just ask IBM, who paid $ 4.1 million in a 2014 discrimination case after an unilateral internal investigation was conducted to admit it as evidence.

It can be exhausting, frustrating and uncomfortable to take an exam at work. Fortunately, the process is much more manageable if you know the proper guiding principles.

1. Identify problems and train employees to do the same

The worst thing an employer can do is ignore a complaint or a violation of the rules. Employees must be informed about what constitutes the wrong behavior and be aware of their active role in the correction. It is important that the administration create an environment in which employees avoid reporting concerns and provide staff with the necessary resources to conduct investigations.

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As Stern says, “The reasons for an investigation are almost endless: they include, among others, harassment or discrimination, and do not require a formal complaint to be filed.”

Stern noted that most problems are not reported in the workplace, and if employers do not supervise the business, problems can increase significantly if a formal complaint is filed if a complaint ever occurs.

“Employers should be alert to problems and take action to correct situations before they deteriorate,” he added.

Employees who do not cooperate often obstruct investigations by “reporting a concern and asking them not to do anything, refusing to be interviewed and giving vague answers.” A culture of support in the workplace promotes cooperation.

2. Do not jump to conclusions and do not make legal decisions

A superficial examination can be worse than none. If you rush, it is very likely that you will come back and you are likely to miss important elements of the situation, or at least commit your timeline.

Employers should prioritize the completion of exams efficiently and with minimal disruption to the workplace, but also with the utmost care. Often, the whole story is more than an elaborate version of the original complaint, and it is impossible to know without a thorough investigation. Expect your first round of witness interviews and evidence reviews to reveal the need for more.

“He must be willing to change the course in the study or expand the scope based on the information he receives,” Stern said. “Sometimes, research can discover other problems that should also be investigated.”

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Of course, you should conduct your investigation with sensitivity to possible legal consequences, but remember that you can not make a legal decision.

“You can not argue,” his behavior was sexual harassment, which created a hostile work environment, “Stern Business News Daily said.” Your job is rather to determine if the behavior has occurred as described in the employee’s complaint and if it is an injured corporate rule.

3. Always protect the evidence

It may sound obvious, but sensitive information must remain secure. This is another non-negotiable measure. A cancellation carries the risk of sabotage and confidentiality violations. Stern recommends taking measures to protect the evidence of destruction, especially in electronic form that can be easily erased or deleted.

4. Evaluate each situation individually

What unites effective investigations in the workplace is its rigor, not compliance with a well-defined procedure or personnel structure. Be careful when considering the uniqueness of each test in determining who should do it and how. It could be a person, a small group or even a third.

“Make sure that someone with experience in carrying out investigations and / or a resource from a third party that can be accessed quickly, especially in situations that are legally complex, involves a manager or exceeds the capabilities of their internal staff,” Stern said. .

5. Communicate with the party who filed the complaint

If you do not inform the responding party of the initiation, progress or results of the investigation, you will treat the complaint incorrectly.

If you need help with an employee complaint or if you are concerned about a potential lawsuit, Business News Daily recommends contacting a legal counsel.

Tangeer Mehedi

About the Author

Tangeer Mehedi

I'm Professional SEO Specialist, ​Team Leader of RegentSEO, a ​Trusted SEO Agency with over 7 years industry experience. I understand what it takes to get your website #1. Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have! Let me help you build and strengthen your online presence. More About Me...

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