Harassment. Discrimination. Retaliation. Every year in San Diego and across the nation, organizations big and small deal with millions of cases of workplace conflict and employee misconduct. They range from those that are easy to resolve internally to serious disputes that, if handled improperly, could spell disaster for an employer. When allegations of sexual harassment, gender discrimination, age discrimination, retaliation claims, concerns over fraud or other workplace disputes arise, an expertly handled workplace investigation is vital to resolving the issue correctly so that the organization can go back to being productive and profitable.
What is a Workplace Investigation?
A workplace investigation is the process of conducting an investigation into an issue between or with employees on behalf of the organization where the issue occurred. Importantly, any investigation must be prompt and independent.
How do I know if I need a workplace investigation?
It is imperative to act quickly and appropriately if you have received a complaint that you believe may warrant an investigation. Consult a professional to discuss your organization’s specific situation. Below is a list of commonly investigated issues:
- Sexual Harassment
- Racial Discrimination
- Claims of Retaliation
- Gender Discrimination
- Age Discrimination
- Workplace Violence
- Employee Fraud
- Whistle-blower complaints
- Alcohol or drug abuse
In a typical situation, the company representative will notify their attorney who will in turn hire an investigator. It is important for the company to demonstrate valid efforts to achieve an impartial and independent investigation.
Who should conduct a workplace investigation?
While a supervisor or human resources representative can receive an initial complaint, he or she should not conduct the investigation. Rather, a workplace investigation should be conducted by a qualified licensed investigator external to the organization.
In California, anyone conducting investigations must be licensed by the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services. There is an exception to the license requirement for “An attorney at low in performing his or her duties as an attorney at law.”
That leaves two types of professionals who may legally conduct a workplace investigation in California; a licensed private investigator or an attorney. The Association for Workplace Investigators cautions, however, that:
“An outside attorney investigator conducting an impartial investigation should appreciate the distinction between the role of impartial investigator and that of an advocate.”
BCD Investigations is qualified and experienced in workplace investigations. We are a member of the Association for Workplace Investigators and have many years’ experience interviewing complainants and witnesses and writing thorough, detailed reports. Contact us for a consultation on any workplace matter.