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Comprehensive Workplace Investigation Guidance for Labor Counsel in Large Organizations

#Investigations Jan. 22, 2024


This comprehensive guide outlines the procedural aspects of a workplace investigation explicitly tailored for labor counsel representing large organizations. A workplace investigation is a crucial tool to determine the facts, assess policy violations, and assign responsibility within the organizational context. Investigations are a legal mandate when there is a complaint of harassment, discrimination, or workplace hostility.

Assessing the Need for Investigation:

Corporate labor counsel plays a pivotal role in evaluating the necessity of a workplace investigation based on the specifics of a staff member's complaint. There may be a need to involve additional corporate resources such as HR leadership or physical safety personnel.

Key Roles in a Workplace Investigation:

  1. Reporting Party: The individuals initiating the complaint.

  2. Accused: Individuals implicated or accused in the complaint.

  3. Witness: Individuals with firsthand knowledge identified by both parties.

  4. Investigator: A credentialed independent Investigator external to the organization.

Organizational Authority's Right to Investigate:

Highlighting the organization's prerogative, labor counsel ensures the right to investigate and address complaints and workplace concerns, irrespective of the complainant's active participation. The counsel guides the organization in independently conducting investigations while emphasizing the staff member's obligation to provide relevant information by overseeing a credentialed and neutral investigator's work.

Non-Retaliation Assurance:

Labor counsel reinforces the organization's commitment to strictly prohibiting retaliation against any community member involved in reporting or inquiring about potentially wrongful or unlawful activities. This commitment extends to participation in investigations or related proceedings.

Tailored Investigation Process:

The investigation process involves several key steps:

  1. Initial intake interview with the complainant and evidence review.

  2. Decision-making on the initiation of an investigation, with notifications to the complainant and relevant department leadership.

  3. Collection of information through interviews with the respondent and witnesses.

  4. Determination of findings based on a preponderance of evidence.

  5. Communication of findings and recommended actions to the appropriate department/unit leadership.

Conducting Investigation Interviews:

Labor counsel guides the interview process, ensuring that parties present information, respond to inquiries, and maintain confidentiality as necessary to protect the investigation's integrity.

Case-Specific Timeline:

Acknowledging the unique nature of each case, labor counsel communicates with the investigator to stay updated on the timeline. Emphasis is placed on expeditious resolution while ensuring due diligence.

Findings and Next Steps:

Labor counsel collaborates with department/unit leadership to discuss findings and recommend appropriate next steps, such as training, procedural adjustments, or corrective actions. Specifics of the findings are communicated separately to the complainant and respondent, ensuring confidentiality when necessary.

Please contact us today so we can support your need for a neutral, independent, and proper workplace investigation.