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Power Tools & Tips for Workplace Leaders

Workplace Investigations
How to Handle Employee Complaints and Problems Successfully
We live in a litigious world, and nowhere is that truer than in the workplace. Especially since the #MeToo era began, workplace investigations have come under increased scrutiny.

Read on for tips on how to best handle workplace investigations in a way that will help keep your business out of 'hot water'.
Five Areas of Concern

#1 Participation is Not Consent

  • Just because an employee continues to perform his or her duties during an ongoing investigation doesn’t mean they approve of the harassing behavior. Remember, these folks can be key in any workplace investigation. Think of it this way: Being part of the team doesn’t guarantee approval.

#2 Don't Discount Hearsay

  • As you probably know, hearsay isn’t admissible in court. But it can be very useful in a workplace investigation. Hearsay can lead to relevant evidence. Do not discount it! You need to follow all leads in order to uncover the facts.

#3 Create an Atmosphere of trust

  • A lot of cases come down to “he said, she said". Therefore, a lot of cases end up being deemed unsubstantiated. And that discourages people from bringing their cases to superiors. They’re afraid of retaliation or that they won’t be able to prove their case. So it’s up to management to make sure employees know they’ll be treated fairly when they come forward. That means a clear policy included in the employee handbook and regular communications and training on appropriate workplace behavior.

#4 Ask Open-Ended Questions

  • You should let witnesses do the lion’s share of the talking, Johnson said. Yes or no questions make it easier for the person to lie. And avoid “why” questions. They often sound accusatory.

#5 No Place for Amateurs

  • It is highly recommended to get an outside investigator, especially when the accused harasser is in a position of power. You may need an experienced investigator because of the extremely delicate nature of these investigations.


Contact Alternative HR today!

Thorough workplace investigations can help to alleviate office tension and may shield your company in the event of a lawsuit. If a problem or complaint has come up at your business, we can help!

Contact us today at 605.335.8198!