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Workplace Investigations 101

Workplace Investigations 101

Workplace Investigations 101

Under the right leadership and with the appropriate resources in place, workplace operations tend to be smooth sailing. But it’s impossible to altogether avoid rough seas and the occasional storm — whether it’s a workplace accident/injury, allegation of misconduct, or other unethical behaviour.

Workplace investigations are instrumental in resolving workplace complaints and disputes, and can be executed voluntarily as a standard best practice or may be required by legislation (for example, in instances of workplace harassment).

An improperly performed workplace investigation can result in significant legal liability and financial consequences for an organization. As experienced HR Professionals and employment lawyers, we regularly assist clients in performing effective workplace investigations that can effectively mitigate these risks.

What is a workplace investigation?
At its core, a workplace investigation is an organized and systematic fact-finding exercise. All the relevant facts and evidence relating to a complaint or issue are carefully collected, reviewed, and analyzed in order to determine the validity of the allegations. A workplace investigation can be performed internally by someone within the organization, or if necessary, an external workplace investigator.

The findings of a properly conducted investigation will help inform any remedial action which may be required.

The principles of a proper workplace investigation
When conducting a workplace investigation, it is important that a clear and thoughtful approach is undertaken. Each investigation must be:

  • Prompt and objective — meaning fair and impartial.
  • Confidential to maintain the integrity of the investigative process and prevent undue reputational harm.
  • Systematic to ensure all information is carefully collected and analyzed, and that all involved parties are notified and provided a fair opportunity to respond to any/all allegations.
  • Summarized — the findings of the investigation should be reported in writing and shared with all of the relevant parties, including the employees involved.

With these principles in mind, employers have a high degree of flexibility in structuring a workplace investigation to suit their needs. Recognizing this, we provide a tailored approach to workplace investigations to reflect the needs of your organization. Please contact us for more information.

This blog was written by Humera Rehman, Legal Advisor for MaxPoeple and an Associate at Rodney Employment Law. For more information about employee engagement, email [email protected] or call 1.888.709.1236.

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