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July 8, 2024

When dealing with workplace misconduct complaints such as harassment or violence, it's important for employers to thoroughly investigate the issues, determine the facts, and implement appropriate corrective actions. While many organizations are equipped to handle such investigations internally, there are certain circumstances where seeking external assistance becomes necessary and beneficial.

So, when should you seek outside assistance?

  1. If the person being accused of misconduct is responsible for handling complaints within the workplace, it is advisable to hire external help.

A strong Workplace Conduct policy should be approved by a senior leadership member who is accountable for the workplace culture. If the complaint involves this team member, it is crucial to appoint an external investigator. This shows that the policy applies to everyone, even senior leaders, and ensures that there is no conflict of interest.

  1. In cases of high-profile misconduct that may attract public attention, it is best to engage an external investigator.

This decision helps avoid any corporate bias and demonstrates a commitment to addressing the issues impartially.

  1. During periods of labor disputes, contentious negotiations, or company restructuring, emotions and uncertainties can lead to perceived bias, regardless of the internal investigator's qualifications. In such situations, an external investigator can offer a neutral perspective and help mitigate the impact of the turmoil on employee and management relations.

By considering these specific scenarios, employers can make informed decisions on when to seek external assistance for workplace misconduct investigations, ensuring fairness, transparency, and the maintenance of a positive organizational culture.

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