Conducting Unbiased Corporate Investigations for Employee Misconduct

Has anyone in your workplace cried foul over a co-worker’s behavior; or acted in a way that might have jeopardized others or the company’s reputation and profitability? There are various types and degrees of behavior that can fall under the general definition of employee misconduct–ranging from simple acts that would require only a written or oral reprimand, to huge ones, which could mean dismissal from the company.

To avoid the unjust dismissal of an employee, and any consequent legal action that might arise from it, an in-depth investigation should first be conducted.

Tips on investigating employee misconduct

Investigating the matter

To ensure unbiased corporate investigations, you would be well-advised to hire a private investigator who can look into the matter, and cull all the evidence that could prove or disprove allegations against an employee. The investigator should complete the probe within a reasonably short time, and should have no prior association with the company. Moreover, he has to be clearly appraised of all the details surrounding the case, and what he is expected to look into.

Although in recent years, the occurrence of employee misconduct in the workplace, including discrimination, lying, and sexual harassment, had significantly decreased, the fact remains that this can happen in almost any office, and thus requires utmost attention from employers. Not taking complaints seriously is one of the common pitfalls of many companies, most especially if the employee in question has been accused once too often of wrong behavior.

Employers and managers have been found to typically gloss over the finer details of an employee’s complaint. Hiring a professional, unbiased investigator can help eliminate this mistake. As an employer or manager, however, you must still be on top of how the investigation is going along so you can make a fair decision afterwards.

Gathering witnesses

Obtaining statements from witnesses is key in such investigations, but encouraging employees to come forth with what they know might prove difficult. Many tend to avoid getting involved in such matters. As an employer, you may have to assure employees that any information they disclose would be kept confidential, unless a disciplinary hearing is needed.

Additionally, a highly trained corporate investigator, like one from Phenix Investigations, Inc., will have the right interrogation skills and knowhow to encourage witnesses to talk and provide information, and find any collaborating evidences or testimonies to support eyewitness accounts.

The decision on the accused employee’s fate may ultimately lie in your hands, but a thorough and objective investigation will help ensure that your decision will be properly anchored on facts and truths.

(Source: Tips on investigating employee misconduct, HR Zone)

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