HR Tools And Tech: How To Properly Conduct A Workplace Investigation
As a small business owner you dedicate a lot of your time and money into both your company and your employees. The end goal of this is to achieve the vision you originally had and so that both you and your workers can prosper. Given this, one would like to assume that the employees appreciate and share your views about the company and what you are doing for them. Unfortunately that is not the case. Although rare, some employees like to take advantage of situations and can commit actions unbecoming of a proper employee such as harassment, discrimination, retaliation, safety and other ethical wrongdoings. When a complaint is made however guilt is not, and cannot legally, be decided. Indeed, thanks to many laws, (i.e. Title VII, ADA, ADEA, OSHA, Sarbanes-Oxley, state and local nondiscrimination laws, etc.), employers must fully investigate the matter. How does one go about performing an efficient and legally acceptable investigation? It can be intimidating to those without a law degree but luckily WeKnowNext offers a very, very detail outline summarized below. They continue, “As potentially disruptive as investigations can be, they must be prompt, thorough and effective to ensure everyone’s protection. The following steps should be taken as soon as the employer receives a verbal or written complaint…”
Step 1: Ensure confidentiality
Step 2: Provide interim protection
Step 3: Select the investigator
The appropriate investigator should possess all of the following:
- An ability to investigate objectively
- To have no “stake in the outcome.” They should not have a personal relationship with the involved parties. The outcome should not directly affect the investigator’s position within the company.
- Skills that include prior investigative knowledge and working knowledge of employment laws
- Strong interpersonal skills in order to build a rapport with the parties involved and be perceived as neutral and fair
- Attention to details
- The right temperament to conduct interviews
- To be in a position to maintain confidentiality, be respected within the organization (since his or her conclusions will be used to make a determination), have the ability to act as a credible witness and, if internal, have the likelihood of continued employment with the company
Step 4: Create a plan for the investigation
Step 5: Develop interview questions
Step 6: Conduct interviews
Step 7: Make a decision
Step 8: Closure of investigation
When necessary, take corrective action that is appropriate to the situation, such as discipline or even termination.
- Look at any damages incurred by the victim and discuss with legal counsel how to remedy those damages.
- Determine if education, such as sexual harassment training or anger management training, would be beneficial to the individual or all employees.
- Consider if there is a need to review, modify and/or redistribute workplace policies.
- Determine whether a review of investigation and complaint resolution processes is necessary.
Step 9: Develop written summary investigation results
Click on the link below to see the details behind each bullet.
Source - WeKnowNext