Employers have the duty to investigate complaints not only when they receive those complaints, but when they suspect bullying, harassment, or any other reason warranting a workplace investigation. Situations that may warrant an investigation can often be found contravening the Employment Standards Act. Our employment lawyers can assist proactively to ensure that proper policies and complaint procedures are in place to address these issues.
Employers should draft clearly stated workplace policies regarding workplace investigations of complaints and misconduct. Any investigations should begin promptly upon receiving a complaint or becoming aware of the misconduct. Employers should have neutral parties available to conduct the workplace investigation and should provide any employees named as respondents an opportunity to respond to the specific allegations made against them. The entire process should be documented and the results of the investigation should be communicated to the parties involved.
A thorough workplace investigation reveals the facts and circumstances behind a particular incident. A thorough investigation can help determine whether a crime has occurred. In addition, an investigation can also help employers find out whether a violation of company policy has occurred.
To ensure the fairness of the workplace investigation process, employers may wish to hire external investigators. These investigators are often lawyers who are able to provide legal analysis to the business.
When wrapping up the investigative process, it is also prudent to obtain legal advice concerning the facts of the investigation. Getting this information early can allow companies to pre-empt potential legal issues whilst maintaining orderly business operations.