October 09, 2017
What Happens When HR Investigates and How Employers Can Help
Every business, no matter how small, needs to have a human resources representative employed. Sometimes, things in the workplace go askew and employers or employees alone aren’t equipped to fully deal with the matter. Many people are apprehensive about an investigation involving their employer or their colleagues, considering that the outcome could significantly impact the workplace. However, a properly conducted investigation is essential in order to limit the employer’s liability in the event of a lawsuit and to establish important changes to employee behavior in the workplace.
Human Resources Investigates
When a Workplace Investigation is Necessary
Local, state, and federal employment laws all play a role and all HR professionals need to be familiar with a wide array of statutory and regulatory authorities to effectively and lawfully deal with company personnel. Some employers will have HR look into all complaints whether the law requires it or not. An investigation will occur if an employee makes a complaint concerning harassment, affirmative action policies, reports missing money or equipment or informs the management about an accident; these being the most common matters for investigation.
Workplace investigations must be impartial and all factors need to be included while conducting the investigation. If the inquiry is lopsided and the court rules in the favor of the employee, the business can end up owing a massive amount in reparation and fines, as well as face bankruptcy and scandal.
Never Ignore Complaints
While all complaints do not warrant a full investigation, it is necessary that all complaints be taken seriously. It may be possible to head off litigation and severe consequences by being proactive.
It is important to document and preserve all witness interviews and every step taken during the investigation. This can benefit either party, particularly if litigation becomes involved.