Employee complaints often come in after workplace matters have festered for weeks or months. By the time HR or appropriate management becomes aware of the situation, the situation is often serious and convoluted. If even one of the allegations addresses any form of discrimination based on a protected class, such as race or religion, the employer is obligated to conduct an appropriate, neutral, and independent investigation.
There are no particular magic words that trigger an obligation to investigate, but an employer has the responsibility to understand when an employee is alleging an illegal activity. At the very least, employers absolutely must conduct a very thorough inquiry into formal and informal complaints by employees that may allege illegal behaviors to determine that, in fact, no illegal activates are asserted.
If you need any assistance determining the seriousness of employee allegations or the appropriate level of investigative response, reach out to Lynch Law Firm, PLLC for assistance.