Your company may be responsible for conducting an internal investigation if one of your employees (or someone outside your company) makes a complaint or claim. Investigations are often necessary for claims of harassment, discrimination, abuse, bullying or other forms of unacceptable behavior.
Immediate Steps To Take As An Employer
You should start the investigation by protecting the victim (or third-party) that has made the claim. This should include keeping certain information confidential and protecting them from harassment or harm.
Confidentiality Of Employee Claims
Employers should make a strong effort to keep claims made by the employee confidential. Although employers are not obligated (and should not) claim full confidentiality during the investigation, they should protect as much information as possible.
Take Action To Protect The Victim
When claims are made against someone within the company, the victim may be subject to harassment or physical harm. The employee should take appropriate action to protect the victim, which should include consultation with an HR professional for advice.
Have A Plan For The Investigation
To keep structure, objectivity and ensure that the investigation is thorough and fair, employees should have a plan for the investigation before it begins. Before you begin, create a list of witnesses that you would like to interview, plan for the collection and review of evidence and hire an HR professional to assist with or lead the internal investigation.
Document The Investigation Results Properly
If the employer hires an HR professional, they will document the investigation results for you. For employers that conduct their own investigation, documenting all evidence, witness statements, testimonials and the defense statements of the accused party is essential to being able to support your ultimate decision.
Selecting The Right Workplace Investigator
Hiring the right professional investigative help is essential. Our team at HR Search & Rescue works with the employer throughout the investigation, offering advice on how to conduct an investigation in a manner that is fair for both sides.
Human Resources Staff
Human resources (HR) plays a pivotal role in employee relations. If there is a claim made that warrants an investigation, they are essential in ensuring fairness and protecting the accuser and the accused. IF you do not have an HR staff, then call our remote team at HR Search & Rescue.
In addition to HR professionals, you may benefit from hiring from external investigators. This ensures an impartial investigation so that the accused or accuser does not claim the investigation was biased in the favor of one side.
Once the plan is in place and the necessary professional help is hired, then it is about execution. It is helpful to delegate responsibilities during the investigation to ensure a proper team approach is applied and that the investigation runs smoothly from start to finish.
Get Help With Handling A Workplace Investigation
Workplace investigations are tricky, particularly as it relates to protecting the one who made the claim and balancing that with giving the accused party a proper investigation and a chance to defend themselves. For assistance, call our HR consultants at (844) 934-3293 or schedule a 1-on-1 meeting online today.