According to attorney Jody Katz Pritikin, in an employee investigation, your employee’s attorney is geared to subvert your investigation and show its weaknesses. According to Pritikin there are a couple of the many ways that attorneys try to do this are as follows:
- “The investigation was not conducted promptly“
You need to start the investigation within one week, although starting within one day is ideal. For obvious reasons, delays cause hardship on the process and HR being unavailable is no excuse. You need to document significant delays and be able to explain them consistently and logically. Also, as a side note, the accused employee should be suspended WITH pay.
Make sure to have at least one person trained to conduct the investigation and include in your policies explanations as to how to make a complaint.
- “The investigation was not protected from contamination”
As hard as you may try, your employees will talk and news is capable of spreading very quickly in offices. Witnesses and parties involved must be reminded to refrain from referencing or discussing the incident with anyone other than those trained in handling the investigation.
Consider the investigation tainted if any parties collude before making an accusation or if any evidence was purposely destroyed or overwritten. There need to be clearly written policies on information privacy in the workplace as well as making sure information is shared with only the people it needs to be shared with.
These are only a couple ways that attorneys are able to crumble your case, so be prepared… make sure you have the right policies in place to help an investigation commence immediately and to keep all of the involved information where it needs to stay: in the hands of only those who need it for the investigation. It also helps to have more than one person trained for the act of investigation to avoid any conflicts of interest.
Do you have any more ways to avoid having your investigation undermined? Share them here on the HRInsights Community Page.