A well-conducted investigation can reduce workplace conflict, promote job satisfaction and inclusion, and can also help shield you from legal liability. However, the converse is also true — a botched investigation can have enormous implications, both from a business and legal perspective. Fortunately, there are a number of simple steps you can take to ensure effective workplace investigations:
Relatedly, employers often instruct interviewees that they must keep all information about an investigation confidential. This can be problematic. The National Labor Relations Act gives employees the right to discuss the terms and conditions of their employment, which can include information about an investigation. However, you may instruct employees to keep the investigation confidential if there are special circumstances requiring confidentiality. For example, confidentiality may be justifiable if you have reason to believe that there is a real risk of retaliation. If you decide to require confidentiality, you should document your reason.
By following these steps, you can ensure an appropriate, effective response to employee concerns, as well as manage the legal risk associated with potentially improper behavior in the workplace.