Conducting Workplace Investigations

When an organization receives an internal complaint, or notices some suspicious behavior, the HR department determines whether or not to launch an internal workplace investigation. Sometimes a full investigation isn’t necessary, but if there is any doubt involving the situation, it’s better to conduct a formal workplace investigation to protect workers and intellectual property, as well as prevent litigation.

Reasons for workplace investigations

There are a variety of actions that warrant an investigation in the workplace. Human Resources departments are equipped to handle complaints, even ones that are reported anonymously. An investigation includes reviewing employee data collected regarding the incident (emails, browser history, server access), and interviewing all parties who were involved. By conducting thorough workplace investigations when warranted, employers can create an environment of safety, trust, and productivity.

Violation of federal law, company policy, and security use protocol are all grounds for workplace investigations. Some common complaints include:

57-percent-confidential-information
  • Discrimination
  • Sexual harassment
  • Wrongful termination
  • Defamation
  • Retaliation
  • Substance abuse
  • Violence (or threat of violence)
  • Vandalism
  • Breach of trust
  • Conflict of interest
  • Data theft
  • Accounting fraud
  • Data manipulation
  • Violation of company rules
    (absenteeism, substance abuse, etc.)
1 CA insider Threat Report 2018

Considerations for workplace investigations

Establish a protocol
HR departments should have a process for launching and conducting a workplace investigation. Overlooking or downplaying complaints not only hurts employees, but also could warrant lawsuits. Organizations should make their employees aware of laws and policies that they are expected to follow. That communication should also spell out the repercussions for not adhering to them, such as termination, or termination of benefits.

In-house vs. external investigator
While an HR department should be equipped to handle some investigations; sometimes an external investigator is a better choice. When the problem can be resolved quickly, when there’s agreement on what happened, or when the HR department has adequate resources, an internal investigation is often sufficient. However, when circumstances are more serious and fairness is hard to guarantee, an external investigation is usually preferred. An external investigation provided objectivity and protects the organization from intentional or unintentional self-bias.

Boost employee trust
Conducting proper and efficient workplace investigations fosters an environment of trust. Employees will feel comfortable reporting any issues the experience, and confident that the problems will be resolved. When employees feel secure in their workplace, productivity and good employee relations flourish.

Workplace Investigations Solution

Employee monitoring software can help identify, clarify, and prevent incidents that require workplace investigations. Veriato products detect suspicious behavior to identify security breaches. Having access to data surrounding a complaint, such as an email chain – even if it’s been deleted, helps clarify what happened to achieve a fair resolution. A strong monitoring system deters rule breakers and inappropriate behavior.

Deploy Veriato to ensure your HR department can get an accurate picture of internal behavior. The unbiased, complete information from software is vital to successful workplace investigations.