The courts are becoming increasingly clear that employers who attempt to investigate on their own workplace complaints of harassment (including sexual harassment) or the employer’s failure to provide due accommodations to their employees or of workplace violence, threats or intimidation are taking on the risk that a court or tribunal may later criticize them for not bringing in an outside, neutral to conduct the investigation. Recent decisions are essentially telling employers that the best (and sometimes the only) way to proceed is for the employer to bring in an outside professional to do an impartial investigation. Failure to do so can taint the process and result in a finding that the employer (no matter how well-intentioned) failed in its duty to conduct a fair and meaningful investigation.
I provide a professional and impartial workplace investigation service at reasonable rates.
It is of course imperative that workplace investigations be impartial, fair, thorough and properly documented. And they must be conducted confidentially and in a timely way, with minimum disruption to operations, and of course with the least possible expense.
Proper investigation involves the investigator meeting privately with the parties, reviewing the related documentation, determining the objective facts and making recommendations to the employer. Investigation reports are important documents that are often used in evidence in later proceedings and so they must be prepared carefully.
I give high priority to these cases so they can be handled as quickly as possible and at minimal cost. A typical workplace investigation can often be wrapped up in two weeks.
Smaller employers should not think that this is something that applies only to large enterprises or governments or that because of their small size they can handle the investigation themselves. The size of your operation is not a factor in a Human Rights case and, because larger employers have often protected themselves, for example, with Respectful Workplace (“Harassment”) Policies with formal complaint procedures, the Human Rights Commission or Labour Standards often focus particular attention on small businesses. The bottom line is that failure to get an impartial outside investigation can be very expensive for the employer.
For more information on my workplace incident investigation service, please contact me confidentially by email.