Why Hire an External Workplace Investigator?
To the benefit of all, there is an increasing push for more fair and equitable work environments in which all workers can participate, contribute and thrive. There is a related increase in accountability for employers who fail to foster this sort of positive work environment.
Issues like harassment and bullying don’t just work themselves out. They require immediate attention and remedy. Employers can help to ensure a fair and equitable work environment for all by setting out clear behavioural expectations set out in workplace policies as well as fair and thorough procedures for addressing, enforcing and disciplining harassing or discriminatory behaviours.
While many allegations of misconduct can be adequately investigated and addressed internally, there are also situations in which an external investigator should be hired. It is important for employers to recognize when your team is out of its depths and seek professional support and consultation.
When to Hire an External Workplace Investigator
There is no definitive set of circumstances in which a workplace investigation should not be handled internally. Every situation is unique as are the resources at your disposal to properly handle the investigation. However, an external investigator should probably be hired if:
- The allegations are of a particularly serious nature (i.e. harassment, violence, fraud, theft)
- The allegations involve serious criminal conduct
- There is a possible conflict of interest
- The dispute involves senior level employees
3 Benefits of Hiring an External Workplace Investigator
With so much riding – legally, as well as in the powerful court of public opinion – on how an employer handles a workplace investigation, it can be smart to bring in a professional. A flawed, biased or incomplete investigation can have devastating effects on the parties involved, employee morale and your business or organization’s overall well-being. A professional third-party investigator can help you resolve allegations of misconduct with both fairness and efficiency.
A successful workplace investigation is a fair workplace investigation. For the results and recommendations of an investigation to be accepted by all parties, it will need to be seen as honest and legitimate.
Especially in small workplaces without a dedicated HR department, it is essential that the person conducting the investigation be perceived as neutral, as having no biases, preferences or allegiances to either the accused or accuser. A professional outside investigator will shield your investigation from indictments of bias and impropriety.
2. Time and Resources
When something is amiss in your workplace, you need to act immediately. You want to get to the bottom of things quickly so that you can resolve the issue and get your workplace back on track.
But conducting a thorough and effective workplace investigation can eat up a lot of time and resources that could otherwise be devoted to normal workplace operations.
A professional workplace investigator will be minimally disruptive to the normal day-to-day operations of your business or organization. Their presence will allow you to focus on what you do best and make sure that you find a resolution that fosters continued positivity and productivity of your workplace.
3. Experience and Expertise
When serious allegations – such as sexual harassment or criminal activity – are brought forward, it is highly advisable to have someone with the necessary legal knowledge, expertise and training take over the investigation.
When someone’s job or health is on the line, you will want to take every precaution possible to ensure a proper investigation that respects the rights and dignity of all involved. (Click here for more information about employee rights during a workplace investigation) An experienced employment lawyer can bring appropriate knowledge and scrutiny to an investigation to ensure it is thorough and fair to all parties.
A Healthy Work Environment
Addressing allegations of harassment, bullying or any other workplace misconduct fosters a healthy work environment of trust and good faith. A thorough and appropriate investigation demonstrates to your employees that you take their concerns and well-being seriously and reaffirms their confidence in you and your organization.
Workplace Investigation Legal Expert
At KCY at LAW, we investigate allegations related to a variety of workplace misconducts including harassment, conflicts of interest, human rights complaints, sexual harassment and discrimination. Privacy and sensitivity are our utmost concerns.
KCY at LAW is equipped to conduct external and independent workplace investigations for organizations – both private and public of all sizes.