Despite having the best preventative measures in place, discrimination complaints still happen in the workplace. When these grievances are voiced it is important that employers conduct a thorough investigation to determine whether or not they have merit.
As an employer, it’s important to be prepared for such situations and to know how to carry out a fair and proper internal investigation. Here are three key tips:
Take everyone’s account of what happened
Witness statements are going to be a fundamental part of the investigation process.
Having as many witness accounts as possible of the event being reported will help to give you a clear picture of exactly what’s happened. The best place to start is with the employee who has raised a complaint with you, moving on to speaking with the accused party next. This will help you to determine any other individuals who may be able to give a useful account on either side.
Keep as many notes as possible and ask the witness to sign the statement to say they’ve given a true account to the best of their knowledge.
Record in writing all parts of the investigation
In the event that an employee decides they’re not content with your investigation and wishes to take legal action against the company, the records you keep will be very important.
This is the best evidence you have that you’ve carried out a proper investigation and of what has been said by all parties to the matter.
Retaliation can have legal repercussions
When dealing with employee complaints, respect and objectivity is key. It’s important to create an environment where employees feel comfortable approaching you without fear of negative repercussions. Failing to do so is damaging for morale but retaliation can also have legal repercussions for the company.
It can be emotionally difficult to handle employee complaints, but it can also be incredibly time-consuming. Having legal assistance with the process can make sure you’re protected legally.