Allegations of Workplace Misconduct
If you are an employer, at some point you have probably faced (or will face in the future) allegations of misconduct in the workplace. This can include allegations that an employee, customer, independent contractor, client, or another third party has done something illegal, such as harassing or discriminating against an employee on the basis of race, sex, age, religion, or similar reasons. If you are facing those allegations, it’s critical to perform a quick, thorough investigation into the allegations. This will help not only establish some legal defenses, but also to help implement steps to prevent such claims from occurring in the future. It’s critical that the claims be taken seriously and the allegations investigated promptly.
In some situations, you may need a comprehensive investigation into allegations of wrongdoing at work. The claims that must be investigated may range from claims of widespread and systematic sex or race discrimination, to an individual claim of harassment. As part of the investigation, you may also wish for human resources employees to be trained on the steps involved in conducting such an investigation.
Some common types of workplace investigations include investigation of discrimination or harassment on the basis of age, sex, pregnancy, disability, race, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, and more. Allegations of retaliation in the workplace may also be investigated. Misconduct by employees is similarly frequently investigated, which may include violence, bullying, or performance issues.
Hiring an Employment Law Attorney vs. Using an Internal Investigation
In many cases, employers hire employment law attorneys to perform investigations into workplace wrongdoing. Employment law attorneys have experience with navigating tricky legal issues such as preserving the attorney-client privilege, avoiding retaliation claims, maintaining confidentiality and preserving and dealing with evidence. In some cases, employers will conduct internal investigations.
However, it’s almost always better to use a third party, such as an attorney. A third-party is generally neutral, and an experienced employment law attorney can handle complex employment law issues. If ever called to testify, an employment law attorney will generally have more credibility than an employee of the company who may be loyal to the employer. Finally, these investigations can be complex and time-consuming, and may be too much for a busy HR department to handle in addition to its regular duties. An outside investigator can provide a detailed report of not only what occurred, but also a legal opinion of any violations of federal or state laws, and recommendations for the steps that should be taken as a result of any violations.
It’s important that any investigator you use has experience in conducting workplace investigations, as well as understands the law about an employer’s obligations with respect to workplace investigations and the surrounding issues. The investigator should be able to recognize legal issues, as well as being able to pay attention to detail and documentation.
Experienced Employment Lawyer and Oakland Workplace Investigator
At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes it’s critical to perform independent investigations into workplace wrongdoing quickly and effectively. She uses her years of employment law experience to conduct a very thorough workplace investigation into allegations of wrongdoing. She is as non-disruptive to the workplace as possible while gathering as much critical information as possible.
If you are an employer facing allegations of misconduct, and you are interested in hiring an outside investigator to help with the investigation, contact Micha Star Liberty, Oakland employment attorney, at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000. She is an experienced employment law attorney with significant experience in handling complex employment-related issues. She will put that experience to work with you in helping you with your case.