Performing an Internal Investigation
July 23, 2021
A startup may find itself in a position where they need to conduct an internal workplace investigation of business crimes, bullying, harassment, discrimination, policy violations, or other employee misconduct behavior within the startup’s workplace. Austin startups inherently need to conduct workplace investigations more often than established entities because they are new organizations without many defined forms, policies, or procedures.
3 Reasons to Use an Attorney for An Internal Investigation
1. Following Requisite Procedures. The Lynch Law Firm can assist your startup in following proper laws, procedures, and best practices for internal workplace investigations. It is important to work with credentialed workplace investigator and employment attorney, like Natalie Lynch, to balance cost, legal obligations, employer risk, and employee dignity appropriately.
2. Impartiality. The dynamics of your Austin startup generally do not allow you to have a trained investigator to conduct an investigation. A proper investigator is someone who is well versed in employment investigations and also so removed from all the individuals involved in a complaint that they can perform a fair and impartial investigation. It is the nature of a startup to be leaner than to have such a detached employee with specialized knowledge. By hiring the Lynch Law Firm to conduct an internal investigation or audit of your startup, the investigation will be conducted fairly and with integrity. In the event of an employee complaint or a company suspicion, the Lynch Law Firm can assist your startup with a credible and fair investigation that can be referenced if that employee ever takes legal action.
3. Limiting Liability. If an employee has behaved inappropriately or contrary to organizational policy, hiring an outside attorney to conduct the investigation reflects that your startup is committed to transparency, heightened standards of performance, and risk mitigation. If handled properly, actions taken resulting from investigative findings and the resulting company culture are a great way to mitigate risk in the future.
3 Common Mistakes Made With Internal Investigations
1. Lack of a thorough investigation. By cutting corners or failing to investigate in accordance with legal obligations, a startup may miss important indicators and fail to follow the minimum requireents of the law or opportunities to change policies and culture. The Lynch Law Firm can assist your startup in conducting a comprehensive and accurate investigation.
2. Financial Costs. Internal investigations can be costly ventures. An attorney can help your startup to carefully focus the investigation and avoid any costly detours or unnecessary investigations. Additionally, if the investigation is not conducted properly and accurately, legal fees and lawsuits resulting from improper investigations can destroy a startup.
3. Lack of Discretion. An internal investigation can involve trade secrets, fraud, or even violations of law. Therefore, conducting the investigation in a discrete manner will protect your business from any unnecessary information circulating your company or becoming public.
Natalie Lynch of the Lynch Law Firm is an Austin Startup Attorney who genuinely cares about growing ideas into viable businesses and helping with legal advice that can facilitate that growth. Our team of a credentialed human resources professional, an industrial psychologist, and employment attorneys is your resource for review, formation, and problem solving. Call us today.