Workplace investigations are becoming more commonplace. When you receive a complaint from an employee alleging another employee or manager is breaking the law or violating company policy, you should take it seriously. Failing to address harassment, discrimination, theft, or even flaunting the company’s dress code can cause poor morale among employees and, at worst, litigation and regulatory action.

An experienced workplace attorney at Erkel Law, P.C. can assist your efforts to verify the whistleblower’s information, reassure them they are being heard, and solve the problem. Knowing you are handling an issue that an employee took the time to report is good for business. A Sacramento workplace investigations lawyer understands the protocols to follow when employees’ actions interfere with your company’s culture.

Common Reasons for Workplace Investigations

Management might discover employee misconduct or illegal activities, but often, an employee is aware of improprieties, or an anonymous source reports them. One major reason for workplace investigations involves discrimination, when a person or group is treated unfairly because of who they are and traits they cannot change, such as race or disability. When an employee reports bias to a company’s human resources (HR) department or a manager, they also have the right to complain to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The company should address the complaint as soon as possible. Other common complaints include:

  • Harassment at work by other employees or managers
  • Knowledge of an employee stealing inventory
  • An employee is lying about their hours
  • An employee is stealing money
  • Insider trading by upper management
  • Violation of company policy, such as dressing inappropriately at work

Complaints can be simple or complex. In either case, a Sacramento workplace investigations attorney with Erkel Law, P.C. can review the complaint, launch fact-finding by interviewing knowledgeable employees, determine an outcome with the proper management team involved, such as terminating or disciplining an employee, and alert other employees about the outcome.

Investigative Actions to Avoid

The worst move a company can make is to receive a complaint and take too long to act on it. Sitting on a complaint can cause bad behavior to escalate, damaging morale because employees talk. Inaction signals the company does not care about its employees. Because complaints involve emotions and can introduce sensitive topics, investigators must be skillful at putting witnesses at ease and should never use harsh tactics when interviewing witnesses.

When the company’s attorney conducts the investigation, they must give the Upjohn warning to employees being interviewed. This means an attorney cannot promise complete confidentiality because the attorney-client privilege is owed to the company, and information may be shared with third parties. A workplace investigations lawyer in Sacramento understands this process and can protect clients from unintended damage, including employee-driven lawsuits.

Communication is the Key

When employees complain about a valid problem plaguing an organization, they are stressed, wondering if they are doing the right thing. Assure them they are. Erkel Law, P.C. can coordinate all aspects of an investigation and keep management and involved witnesses informed in a way that does not expose the company to employment litigation for wrongful termination.

Resolve Complaints With a Sacramento Workplace Investigations Attorney

Workplace infractions can be minor but often involve breaking state or federal laws. You should want to know, and when an employee reports it, you should take it seriously.

A Sacramento workplace investigations lawyer at Erkel Law, P.C. objectively assesses the reported wrongful act. Resolving these allegations through fact-finding is crucial to maintaining employee morale and stopping theft and criminal behavior. Call today if your business has received a complaint that needs to be addressed.


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