Workplace Investigations

A workplace investigation is a search for the truth into what happened in any particular set of circumstances.  There may be a whole range of situations in which an employer may need to conduct a workplace investigation. The investigations may include an Occupational Health and Safety incident, or where an employee raises an employee grievance or lodges a claim for sexual harassment, violence, bullying or discrimination.   Hiring a licensed private investigator can help alleviate the potential for claims of bias in the investigation. 

The first issue for employers to be aware of is to ensure that if they have a policy that regulates how investigations are to be conducted that they follow that policy.  Another concern is to ensure that the person who conducts the investigation, whether they’re internal or external doesn’t have any prior involvement in the issue to be investigated to avoid any claims of bias made by any party involved. 

Each investigation circumstances will have its own set of facts so there needs to be a level of flexibility about how investigations are conducted.  Most small to mid-size businesses do not generally have an onsite dedicated investigator.  They should seek out an experienced and qualified private investigation firm to consult with and conduct the investigation according to your established policies and procedures.

The employer needs to quickly conduct an internal investigation that allows them to contain costs. There will be some circumstances however where it is appropriate for an external party to be engaged to conduct an investigation.  This might include where the employer doesn’t have the internal resources or the appropriate skill level to conduct the investigation.

For Assistance In Workplace Investigations In Arizona,
Call Glen at Peak Investigations

Other circumstances may arise where the subject-matter of the investigation is concerns about senior people within the organization.  To ensure that there is no suggestion of bias or improper influence in the process, a licensed private investigation firm, such as Peak Investigations, located in Arizona, should be retained. 

In some cases a particular expertise is needed. For example, if it requires forensic skills or analysis which the employer itself doesn’t have is that it provides a sound evidentiary basis for the employer moving forward and taking whatever action is appropriate.

Secondary benefits include allowing the employer to defuse a situation at a very early stage in the process.  In some circumstances conducting an investigation can uncover certain systemic problems that may exist in the employers business and that allows the employer to address those systemic issues.  And finally, it allows employers to demonstrate that their policies and procedures are actually complied with so that employees can feel that if they have an issue they will be dealt with in an appropriate and consistent manner.

Another thing to consider is whether interim arrangements need to be made in terms of the individuals involved in the investigation process and how they may be implemented in a way that doesn’t prejudge the outcome of the issue.

Confidentiality is often an issue that arises in investigations and employers, especially if the company is small to mid-size, where everyone knows one another.   You need to maintain confidentiality to limit the damage that can sometimes be caused by the stress of an investigation in a workplace context.

Other issues that arises in the context of workplace investigations is how records are kept.  It’s important that when people are interviewed that records in writing are made of what those people have said.  And it’s also important that they be given an opportunity to review those records to ensure that they are comfortable that it is an accurate record of what they have said.  This can often avoid subsequent problems that arise where witnesses recant or say that’s not what I said in the investigation.  It can also undermine the investigation process.

To get assistance with workplace investigations, or any other investigation, call Glen at Peak Investigations.  602-341-3703

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