How to conduct proper workplace investigations

Vikrant Shetty

July 18, 2023

2:30 pm

What is a workplace investigation?

Workplace investigations play an essential role in resolving workplace conflicts. If it’s done correctly, then an audit can help protect the interests of the company by identifying mistakes. Hence, it will help the employee make a fair, rational and informed decision.

However, on the negative side, workplace investigations can result in legal risks and significant reputational damage. As a business owner you need to protect your company’s reputation at any cost. Therefore, you need to pay extra attention before you conduct a proper investigation.

Why should you investigate your workplace?

Conducting workplace investigation is one of the most important aspects to take a look at. As an entrepreneur, business owner, leader, manager or human resources professional, it’s essential to recognize all the red flags. Let’s go in deep and know why workplace investigations are conducted:

  1. To determine what has occurred

The reason behind any investigation is to find out what exactly has happened- even the BAD, so that you can stop it. Even if nothing has happened, then you can find out the reason why the employee is complaining. Through an early investigation you can know your workplace culture issues.

  1. To address the issues before it become severe

Through proper investigation, you can find out the workplace culture issues, thus an opportunity for the company to address them immediately. Such efforts will create positive environment and a friendly workplace for employees.

  1.  To enforce company policies

Employees should follow company policies. Set the right tone by showing employees that you actually pay personal attention to workplace protocols. Let them know that you care about companies policies and guidelines and actions can be taken in case of any misconduct.

Who conducts the workplace investigation?

Conducting a workplace investigation is one of the most significant things the company needs to pay attention to. The business owner needs to choose the right person for the investigation. Hence, you will need to appoint an auditor to conduct the audit. It can be a member of the HR team or legal counsel appointed by the company. But the investigator should not associate with the culprit or victim.

Moreover, it is also important for the investigator to act justly and impartially to establish the reality of the incident. To act upon a complaint, some businesses curate a list of investigators to choose from. However, other organizations may hire auditors to investigate, especially when the case is complex and involves senior management.

How to conduct a proper workplace investigation

Before you start with your investigation, there are a few steps you should take to make it effective. First, workplace or organization inspections are important for reducing risks, handling employee complaints, and maintaining a cooperative workplace.

Step one

The first step is simple but the most important one. It is essential for the organization to take every claim seriously and ensure that your employees are getting their rights.

Step two

As soon as a complaint is made against some discrimination or harassment, the employer should check the matter closely enough to understand if it needs a formal investigation. Reports that may trigger a formal investigation are harassment cases, misconduct or wrong activities, lawsuits among others.

Step three

Stop the accused person from any involvement with the investigation. Therefore, please give them a paid or unpaid leave for the time being till a conclusion is reached. It will make it easier for everyone to get the work done with ease.

Step four

Make a plan of how to execute the investigation, and what were the necessary points needed to be taken care of? Check whether the case needed legal action etc.

Step five

After pointing out all the necessary steps, figure out who is going to take care of the investigation. You can either choose the investigator from the organization or a third-party investigator.

Step six

After you select the investigator, they need to conduct interviews around the organization to find out more about the case. Gather as much detail as possible from the victim about the allegation. However, note if they indicate that someone else is in the scene, then ask for supporting evidence from the victim, such as photos, mails or sms etc.

However, interrogating the accused may be a uncomfortable moment but it is important. Gather important information about them alone. The goal is to uncover any unconfirmed evidence without affecting the answer.

Step Seven

After gathering all the information and documents, take note of the evidence before making any results. Pass all the information to the authorities or the decision-makers.

Conclusion

It is important to conduct an investigation around the organization as a business owner in case of any misconduct or discrimination. Hope through this article you clearly understood the necessary steps and how to handle such situations properly. 

Vikrant Shetty

July 18, 2023

2:30 pm

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