Posted by Judd Lowe ● Aug 20, 2019 12:55:22 PM

The Risks of Sketchy Employee Investigation Documentation

Curious corporate businessman skeptically meeting looking at small employee standing on table through magnifying glass isolated office grey wall background. Human face expression, attitude, perception

“Undocumented: At the Risk of Not Reporting Every Detail of an Employee Investigation…”

We would like to believe that our workplace is a safe space where employees function with efficiency and harmony. However, the reality is that a workplace can be a microcosm of the world outside. Therefore, when an employee jeopardizes workplace safety—whether it be through harassment, illicit substance use, or compromising proprietary information—an employee investigation should ensue that is organized and swift.

The problem that HR faces is that managing employee investigations can be tricky, nay risky in fact. The employee being investigated may try to retaliate to the discipline that is handed down to them. One of the most crucial ways to protect a business, and other employees throughout this process is via documentation.

Record Everything

HR departments should be well directed to keep records on all written and verbal communication that show behavioral patterns and illustrating workplace malfeasance. This information should be handled confidentially and maintained diligently. Should legal action be taken against the employer, comprehensive documentation provides coverage in court. While it may seem costly to invest in training a responsive HR department, the prospect of hefty legal fees that might come from a settlement of a poorly documented termination outweighs the cost.

HR should record:

  • Written witness statements
  • A summary of the incident(s) and those involved
  • Meeting notes
  • Internal communications like memos and correspondence
  • Performance evaluations
  • Relevant workplace materials

All collected documents and supporting materials should be labeled with the dates and times of the incidents reported as well as the dates and times the materials were collected. Time stamping the evidence of an employee investigation helps show the work and the evolution of an official understanding of reported wrongdoing. Creating a timeline and compiling documentation prevents the possibility of having legal proceedings throwing out a defense for lack of evidence.

Vigilance

In our day and age, the reporting of workplace misconduct is growing. More than ever, our workplaces are under scrutiny for their ability to perceive and address issues of harassment and threats to employee safety. The businesses that make the news are the ones who have failed or neglected to keep documentation regarding allegations. The last place a company wants to find themselves is on the receiving end of making headlines for failing to address a problem and having the narrative outside of their control. Make sure that concerns are addressed, and witnesses are recorded as soon as possible.

More is Less

When it comes down to documenting a workplace investigation, there’s not really such a thing as too many records. While we want to avoid inefficiency in our process, having more information on hand can’t hurt. If any documentation is gathered throughout the employee investigation that may contribute to corroborating witnesses or generating leads, it is valuable enough to retain. In a potential legal dispute, some information gathered might be impertinent. However, any business would rather be in that position rather than lacking a fundamental piece of documentation.

LaborSoft’s innovative technology is one of many integral solutions that keep your business, in business. Our employee relations analytics, case management workflows, and our central repository of documentation streamlines case management to mitigate risk of operational bottlenecks, costly lawsuits, and legal ramifications stemming from HR issues and complaints. This sensitive data requires that maximum security protocols are in place and that your information is protected at all times.

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Contact us for a customized demonstration and learn how LaborSoft can help you improve communications, build a more collaborative, safe, and supportive workplace, while reducing the likelihood of costly litigation. 

Topics: HR Data

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