When management typically receives a complaint, or something seems suspicious, one of the first steps is to determine whether an internal investigation is warranted or not. Usually, the answer is YES!
But what if your company has no HR department or your managers aren’t fully trained on handling proper investigations and you think you might have a real problem? Audax is here for these occasional situations that arise in any company between employees or between an employee and employer.
An investigation is recommended when an employee files a compliant or grievance to keep things from growing into larger situations. It is required after an employee files a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or a lawsuit alleging employment discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, defamation or retaliation. A workplace investigation is also advisable when there could be violations of company policy, criminal behavior, theft of property or regulatory compliance issues.
When you are not sure if you are not sure it is always better to conduct a investigation immediately and gather more facts from other employees or relevant documents while things are fresh and before there witnesses are no longer with the company. If the problem turns out to be more severe than anticipated, failing to investigate can cause legal problems and continued workplace problems that interfere with productivity. Often, you can’t recognize how widespread or substantial a problem is until you ask enough questions. In many cases, juries have awarded huge sums to plaintiffs because the employer’s response to a complaint was delayed, inadequate or inappropriate due to a non HR professional handling the inquiry.
If an offense is serious and related to employment law, then investigations are highly recommended. These include:
- Sexual and other forms of harassment
- All forms of discrimination, including
- Sex discrimination
- Racial discrimination
- Religious discrimination
- Disability discrimination
- Age discrimination
- Theft and other ethical impropriety
- Reasonable accommodations
- FMLA and leave issues
- Substance abuse
- Violence or threats against others
- Vandalism and other sabotage
- Violations of workplace rules
- Workplace theft
- Breach of trust
- Conflict of interest
- Excessive absenteeism
- Abuse of sick leave
- Falsification of time cards
- Money seems to be missing
- Data seems to be altered
Common Investigation Mistakes:
- Failing to plan
- Ignoring complaints
- Delaying investigations
- Losing objectivity
- Being distracted during interviews
- Using overly aggressive interview tactics
- Not conducting a thorough investigation
- Failing to reach a conclusion.
- Failing to create a written report.
- Failing to follow up with those involved.
Let Audax HR guide you through the minefield of proper workplace investigations to ensure the best possible outcome for your organization.
Consulting rates: $175/hour or multi-service bundle discounts available and this program is included in our Total HR Management Services packages which start as low as $250.
Call or email for quotes or for more information on the complexity and hours projected for your specific project.