How to Conduct a Workplace Investigation in a School Environment: Step-by-Step Guidance
The normal disciplinary process requires an employer to conduct a fair and thorough investigation before disciplining an employee. Any number of reasons may trigger an investigation: performance issues, charges of harassment, work rule or other job violations, etc. One employee complaining about another, client, customer, or citizen complaints may also require an investigation. Employees who are disciplined have rights and many times will appeal or sue. How the investigation is conducted often becomes the object of legal challenge and possible personal liability for the investigator. Further, the NLRB’s recent confidentiality ruling represents an additional requirement that employers must add to their list of the dos and don’ts to consider when conducting an investigation. It is essential that human resources professionals understand the legal requirements and practical steps for carrying out a fair disciplinary investigation and how to respond when they receive a complaint. This involves having a game plan for conducting an investigation before it begins, compiling the relevant facts, knowing how to interview witnesses fully and impartially, and documenting what you find out. It is essential that you, also, understand your responsibility, as the primary investigator, to assure due process, confidentiality and privacy, how to avoid charges of defamation, and the do’s and don’ts to prevent personal liability for just doing your job. Please join Bob Gregg as he takes you through the steps for conducting a thorough and lawful workplace investigation which helps you to decide if a disciplinary action is even warranted.
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN
Just a sampling of the many practical tips you’ll take away:
- How to avoid personal liability for "investigative malpractice"
- See which workplace policies either hamper or support an investigation
- Review best practices for the intake and assessment of complaints
- Find out how to plan the investigation before it begins
- Discuss the rights of the "accused"
- Review techniques for interviewing witnesses
- Understand privacy and confidentiality requirements of both the accused and the witnesses in light of the NLRB’s recent guidelines relating to confidentiality
- Understand the importance of the investigator's notes and how to maintain their integrity
- Discuss how to evaluate the evidence and come to the appropriate decision
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