Investigations and Workplace Assessments
When claims of sexual harassment or other types of harassment and discrimination are raised, the law requires a prompt investigation, and appropriate remedial action. Employees may complain about unfair treatment, hostile work environment situations, emotional distress, ADA/FMLA violations, claims of invasion of privacy, defamation, and claims of broken promises that lead to breach of contract lawsuits.
Fortunately for most employers, these complaints do not arise every day. When they do, it is important for the investigation to be conducted by someone who is knowledgeable about employment law, trained in such investigations, and perceived as neutral. It may not be possible for the employer's own lawyer to conduct such an investigation, because there is a risk that the lawyer may later be called to testify and the "attorney-client" or "work-product" privileges may have to be waived. In those instances, it is useful to have an outside third party assist with the investigation. Insight Employment Mediation provides supportive expertise through the following services:
Conducting the Investigation
We can serve as a neutral third-party, knowledgeable in employment law and experienced in the nuances of investigating workplace complaints.
Training Internal Investigators
For employers who do not have human resource personnel, or whose HR staff has not been trained in the "how to's" of investigating employee complaints, we offer half-day training sessions. The training focuses on when a duty to investigate arises, how to go about the investigation, who to talk to, what to say about confidentiality, what to document, and what factors to consider in reaching conclusions and making recommendations. Useful checklists are provided to serve as guidelines for the investigator.
Providing a Neutral Evaluation
After an organization has completed its own internal investigation, a "second opinion" may be needed on the scope and outcome of the investigation before final determination is made. A neutral evaluation by an experienced employment attorney, especially one who regularly investigates such claims and serves as a mediator of employment disputes, can be a useful tool in enabling an employer to evaluate their position and to more appropriately respond to the employee's concerns.
Conducting a Workplace Assessment
When complaints or concerns bubble up from a group, this could be an indication of more widespread dissatisfaction in the workplace. We can interview employees, review policies, and provide overall workplace assessments to facilitate understanding and lead to recommendations on how to create a more positive work environment.
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