The failure to investigate allegations promptly and properly can result in employer liability and suggest that the employer is responsible for or involved in the misconduct. That is just one of 5 reasons why having an external workplace investigator can benefit your business.
Businesses and employers often tend to resolve minor workplace misconduct allegations internally. However, if your company faces serious accusations or lacks adequate internal resources, hiring an expert to conduct a professional workplace investigation can provide peace of mind.
Hiring a professional External Workplace Investigator can benefit your company 5 different ways…
1. Guaranteed Impartiality
Hiring an external investigator for a workplace investigation guarantees impartiality and fairness.
An external investigator has no connection to the employer or employees involved, unlike internal investigators such as a human resource (HR) department. Even if your investigating department acts fairly and impartially in conducting an investigation, they could be accused of having a conflict of interest.
An external investigator is almost guaranteed to be perceived as neutral by all parties involved. A neutral investigator is generally more successful in getting employees to open up without fearing retaliation from an employer. Witnesses are also less likely to feel pressured to say what their employer wants to hear.
2. Avoid Serious Allegations
When serious accusations are made, such as those involving fraud, harassment, discrimination, physical violence, and others, hiring an external investigator for a workplace investigation can be vital.
Severe allegations that allege violations of the Canadian Human Rights Act can have severe repercussions and potentially ruin the reputation of a business, executives, or employees. If employees are accused wrongly, they could lose employment or face unjust legal proceedings.
A serious incident also invariably leads to getting lawyers and courts involved, which means an investigation may get scrutinized and dissected. If the investigation is found to have any flaws, a business or individual could face legal liability.
When the stakes are high and serious allegations are involved, hiring a qualified and experienced external investigator can ensure a comprehensive investigation that will withstand scrutiny.
3. Experience and Resources
Investigating workplace incidents can be challenging. Internal investigators may lack the experience and resources needed. They need to be multi-taskers who can handle complex legal issues and apply successful investigative techniques. They must also be experienced in interviewing witnesses and know how to gather and weigh the relevant evidence.
Investigators can face several stumbling blocks, including but not limited to:
- Uncooperative witnesses
- Lack of concrete evidence
- Privacy issues
- Potential retaliation against employees
The more complicated and controversial a case, the more important it can be to hire a professional external investigator who has the relevant experience not to be intimidated by any challenges.
Additionally, internal investigators could be hampered by a lack of training and expertise. They may also not have the time or resources to conduct a thorough investigation in addition to their regular workload, and time can be of the essence in workplace investigations. Delays can result in evidence disappearing, witnesses forgetting details and other challenges.
4. Streamlining Litigation
Even with the best-case scenarios, workplace incidents can end up in court.
When an employee or other claimant launches a lawsuit, having an external investigator handle the workplace investigation can be essential to protect a business’ legal rights.
Moreover, a thorough and professional investigative report can exonerate an employer and quash any legal disputes from the outset. However, it is important to note that a workplace investigation report is generally only accepted by adjudicators if it was conducted fairly, impartially, and comprehensively. Internal investigations may be less likely to hit the mark in that respect.
5. Avoiding Improper Investigations
A flawed investigation can prove costly and could have other wide-reaching negative consequences for an employer. A negligent or careless investigation could expose a business to potential lawsuits, such as:
- Wrongful dismissal
- Violation of work laws
- Physical and emotional pain and anguish
- Breach of privacy
An external investigator can protect the interests of an employer and minimize damages or liability that can arise from litigation.
How Bridge Legal & HR Solutions Can Help
Our lawyer-investigators have solid experience in employment law and human resources. We can handle your workplace investigation from beginning to end. Once the workplace investigation has concluded, our lawyers will provide you with an objective, impartial, and comprehensive report outlining their findings.
Investigations we can conduct include but are not limited to:
- Workplace harassment
- Toxic work environment
- Violence in the workplace
- Workplace bullying
- Retaliation accusations
- Conflict of interest
- Miscellaneous litigation
Our lawyers can not only provide you with a thorough report but also assist you with navigating complex employment laws.
Support for Your In-House Investigator
Bridge Legal & HR Solutions recognizes that businesses have unique needs. While our lawyers are seasoned workplace investigators, we understand that some employers prefer to handle an investigation with their in-house team.
We can support your internal investigators and advise them comprehensively. Our team can also conduct internal audits and workplace assessments. Audits and assessments can be a vital tool, helping you understand your workplace culture and take action to fix any issues before they turn into a bigger problem. Contact Bridge HR Legal now at 647-794-5442 to find out how we could help you.