Businesses and governmental entities of every size face employment law challenges. When those challenges arise, it is imperative for organizations to take the concerns seriously, evaluate the facts, and take appropriate remedial actions.
Our Labor & Employment team conducts independent workplace investigations for public and private organizations throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin, including:
- Workplace & Personnel Policy Violations
- Discrimination (race, age, gender, disability, etc.)
- Whistleblower Violation
- Misuse of Employer Property
Representative Workplace Investigations
- Conducted an investigation based on an employee complaining about gender discrimination and co-worker misconduct in the workplace. Based on our investigation findings, the employer (client) was able to vigorously defend their actions and policies and reach a mutual resolution that was favorable to our client. Not only did the highly detailed investigation, assist in assessing immediate risk, but also assisted in guiding the client to make systemic changes to gain organizational efficiency.
- Completed a neutral fact-finding investigation for a municipality where a council member was accused of an ethical violation. Based on the investigation, the ethics committee was able to come to an expeditious resolution that satisfied the needs of those involved.
- Upon an allegation of a department head withholding information, we conducted a thorough multi-departmental investigation that showed the allegations were unsubstantiated but also identified areas for improved communication.
- Completed an investigation into an employee’s alleged violation of HIPPA and data privacy laws.
- Conducted a cross-organizational investigation into violation of policy and alleged conflict of interests in a large public entity.
Workplace Investigations Questions and Answers
Workplace investigations are an important element in effective risk management for companies. They are formal inquiries conducted to determine if any internal policies, laws or regulations are in violation. Investigations are commonly used to respond to reports of wrongdoing, but can also provide preventative measures for businesses to mitigate future employee misconduct. Investigators conduct investigations by collecting facts surrounding the allegations. This may include interviewing witnesses and reviewing documentation, followed by a report of the findings to the organization.
Whichever the route, there are innumerable benefits for businesses to complete prompt, effective, and impartial workplace investigations when issues arise.
WORKPLACE INVESTIGATIONS ASSIST IN AVOIDING LEGAL LIABILITY
Workplace investigations are an important tool in minimizing and avoiding liability. Effective, timely, and impartial investigations:
- Allow employers to make employment decisions based on a complete set of facts
- Allow employers to assess legal risk and evaluate whether to settle a claim is appropriate
- Are critical in an employer’s defense to many employment claims
- Can avoid costly legal fees for defending a legal or administrative action
WORKPLACE INVESTIGATIONS ASSIST IN PROMOTING A HEALTHY WORKPLACE CULTURE
Swiftly responding to complaints of misconduct or impropriety with a tailored investigation signals to your workforce that misconduct will not be tolerated and complaints will be taken seriously. Ultimately, enforcing organizational culture that includes:
- Fostering a culture of transparency and accountability
- Employees feel safe, secure, and respected
- Employees observe that the organization follows its own policies and procedures, as well as the law
- Reduces loss of reputation to the organization due to misconduct
While there are certainly times an organization may want to conduct its own investigation, there are a number of critical reasons why an organization should consider an outside investigator. For instance:
- Using an attorney may allow the investigation results to be protected by attorney-client privilege and/or work-product privilege, which could shield disclosure of discussions and findings
- A thorough, independent investigation shows the employer took a complaint seriously
- Completing investigations involves navigating a complicated web of local, state, and federal laws in which managers and supervisors are often not well versed
- Using internal employees can raise the inference that the investigation conclusions are biased
Our Workplace Investigation Team
Additional Employment Services
In addition to workplace investigations, our Labor & Employment team also assists employers with other employment law needs including advising on day-to-day needs as well as resolving workplace disputes. You can find more information about our general employment services and resources here.