Why should Workplace Investigations be important to employers?

Why should Workplace Investigations be important to employers?

In Ontario, all employers have a duty to investigate when a harassment or discrimination claim is filed at their workplace. Investigations can also be pursued when examining theft, employee productivity, substance abuse, etc.

The purpose of pursuing a workplace investigation is to examine whether these allegations are well founded, why these behaviours occurred in the first place, and how they can be prevented in the future. Some questions an investigation may answer are: is the workplace culture conducive to allowing for this conduct? Does it occur frequently in the workplace? Who was involved in this allegation? Are they regularly participating in these behaviours?

Why should employers care?

As stated, employers have a legal obligation to fulfill workplace investigations, meaning, they could be legally reprimanded if they do not engage in this process. Implementing a method for dealing with these claims could protect the employer from liabilities associated with the matter. If the employer has done their due diligence, they may not be held as responsible for the behaviour that ensued.

Aside from the legal responsibility, it is in the best interest of the employer to have a good investigative procedure. If they chose not to investigate, it could impact the image of the company and potentially affect future hires or the rapport with their current team. It is important to demonstrate to your employees that their comfortability and security at the workplace is prioritized.

What aspects of the investigation are most important?

It is crucial for the employer to retain an unbiased investigator who does not have any connection to the matter. If the person hired for the role has been correctly trained and has no connections to the parties involved, it allows for results that are fair and accurate. Further, by making the effort to choose an investigator who is completely unbiased, it could establish more trusting employer-employee relationships.

It is also critical to retrieve and thoroughly examine crucial evidence, investigate those pertinent to the case and asking purposeful questions, and finalize an accurate summary of the findings. These skills are likely to accompany those who have been properly trained in a workplace investigation program and certificate, one that Kathy Chittley-Young, the lawyer at KCY at LAW, has acquired and practiced.

If you are an employer that must pursue a workplace investigation, please contact KCY at LAW by filling in an online consultation request or contact us by phone at 905-639-0999 to book your consultation today.