The Value of External Investigators in Workplace Investigations

External workplace investigators can benefit your business

Any organization, large or small, can be exposed to workplace harassment, violence, or discrimination complaints. With obligations under the Ontario Occupational Health & Safety Act, organizations are required to conduct a comprehensive, unbiased investigation of the incident at issue. 


The question then arises: when is an investigation more appropriately conducted externally rather than internally?

Internal investigations may produce an impartial final result but the investigation could be challenged, by either of the parties, if there are concerns about biases and/or the expertise of the internal investigator. If an internal investigator is found to have acted in a biased or prejudiced way, the organization can be held liable.

Trained and experienced third-party external investigators can help organizations demonstrate a neutral process and ensure that best practices are followed. Business owners that must manage a workplace investigation should consider contacting experienced lawyers such as the ones at Bridge Legal & HR Solutions.

Why is it Important To Consider Using an External Investigator?

Employers in Ontario have duties to their employees as outlined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act. If an employer violates the standards expected of them, they can face major legal challenges.

A workplace investigation must hold up to intense inspection. A valid workplace investigation will serve a company as a protective tool should a legal suit be filed. Properly trained external investigators are skilled at understanding the procedurally fair process to follow, know how to obtain the appropriate facts, and can determine what information to obtain to conduct a thorough investigation. Minimizing costly future legal developments is always the goal. Should a legal matter present itself, knowing that the investigation was done in good faith and is defensible can possibly minimize the potential for negative financial pitfalls.


When can Internal Investigations Be Problematic?

No matter what the allegations are that an organization is managing, it is crucial to take all workplace harassment, violence, and discrimination complaints seriously. Employees have the right to work in a safe environment and they also have rights when they believe they were wrongfully dismissed.

Employees who have a strained relationship with an organization will, in most cases, be less satisfied with an internal investigator’s findings but may be more willing to accept the findings of an impartial, third-party investigator. The lawyers at Bridge Legal and HR Solutions can assist you with your workplace investigation needs while also providing trusted legal advice and consulting services.


The Value and Benefit External Investigators Provide in Workplace Investigations

External investigators can also provide the following benefit to businesses:


1. Provide Skilled and Knowledgeable Fact-Finding Services

Not every individual is capable of conducting a trustworthy and exhaustive review of the facts and details of a complex workplace investigation. Running an investigation can be challenging and when a person is tasked with this assignment, they must have the appropriate skills to conduct an appropriate, unbiased, and procedurally fair investigation.

Investigators must also be skilled at weighing relevant information and evidence, and assessing credibility. It is necessary to know how to break down material and information concisely to make an educated and reasonable conclusion that can hold up in court.


2. Selecting Witnesses

An experienced workplace investigator will know how to assess which witnesses to interview that are relevant to the allegations and will know how to manage unwilling participants.


3. Ensure Timeliness in the Workplace Investigation

Completing an investigation on a timely basis is important to preserving the integrity of the evidence. Internal investigators may have competing priorities that impede them from completing investigations in a timely fashion. External investigators, however, are often able to dedicate the time and resources to complete an investigation quickly and efficiently.


4. Ensure Confidentiality and Professionalism

External investigators in workplace investigations can encourage confidentiality in the investigation amongst the participants.
Confidentiality is important to maintain the integrity of the investigation and minimize the negative impact in the workplace.


5. How External Investigators Save Organizations Money

It may seem like an unnecessary expense to hire an external investigator, but in the long run, nothing could be further from the truth. When an investigation is handled properly by a professional external source, typically legal disputes are reduced, or may be put to rest quickly. This means that a business could potentially be able to avoid a costly legal battle when the findings from a trusted investigation are accepted.

An appropriate investigation can reduce the actions adjudicators have to take. The process can therefore be less time-intensive, organized, and less expensive overall. Organizations may be able to accomplish all of these streamlined goals when they work with an external investigator.


Speak to An Experienced Workplace Investigator Today

To find out more about how an external investigator in workplace investigations can benefit your business and fit your budget, please Contact Bridge HR Legal now at 647-794-5442.

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