When we think of workplace investigations, the most common thought is that of investigating harassment complaints. However, there are so many other forms of workplace misconduct that require investigations such as theft, safety or OSHA issues, retaliation, vandalism, working off the clock, substance abuse, social media violations, and violations of various company policies, as examples.
Usually, this responsibility is left to HR, sometimes to management, and there may be a need to determine if an outside investigator, such as law enforcement or an IT professional, is the best person to investigate. Conducting an investigation is both a science and an art. There is the scientific/technical aspect ensuring the I's have doted and the T's are crossed to minimize liability. And there is the 'art' of investigating in establishing rapport with those you interview, creating a safe environment in which to interview and recognizing that interviewees are usually stressed during the interview process.
As an employer, you have a duty to investigate. Employees have an obligation to cooperate with the investigative process-but what if you have a recalcitrant complainant, wrong-doer or witness? Documentation and writing a final report are critical aspects of an investigation process which begins as soon as an employee makes a complaint-do you know how to document? Do you know the critical elements of a final report to minimize liability?
One of the first questions you, as an HR professional, need to consider is whether the complaint requires a full-blown formal investigation or if a less formal resolution is appropriate because the complaint is a minor policy violation. What do you do if you need to search the employee's desk, computer, smartphone, or locker? Other questions that need to be answered are when do you include legal counsel? What evidence do you need to gather? This webinar will focus on these issues by discussing best practices to ensure you are conducting a fair and impartial investigation that will support a positive work environment, protect employees and the organization, and decrease the risk of liability.
The webinar addresses laws that HR and sometimes others are responsible for upholding. When the laws are not followed, it increases the liability for the organization and interferes with a fair and equitable work environment for employees. As well, there are financial costs for NOT investigating including-Costs related to absenteeism, turnover, liability based on civil rights and criminal laws.