Workplace Investigations Blog

Workplace Investigations Blog

A Guide To Investigating EEO Complaints & Other Wordplace Problems

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Posted in Investigation Tips

Some types of employee complaints must be investigated as a matter of law, e.g., sexual harassment complaints.  Although no statutes regulate how investigations must be conducted, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) (Cal. Gov’t Code §§12900–12996) requires an employer to take “immediate and appropriate corrective action” when faced with a covered harassment complaint… Continue Reading

Credibility Determinations: EEOC Guidelines on Harassment Investigations

Posted in Credibility Determinations, Investigation Tips

In sexual harassment investigations, it is often the case that harassment occurs behind closed doors, with no witnesses, and it becomes a "he said-she said" scenario.  Instead of reaching a finding that the allegations were "sustained", "not sustained", or "unfounded", I have heard of investigators reaching an "inconclusive" conclusion, and in such an instance, the… Continue Reading

Personnel Files: Review Before or After Interview, or Not at All?

Posted in Investigation Tips

Should a workplace investigator in a sexual harassment or discrimination investigation view the personnel file of the complainant / alleged victim at all?  If so, at which point in the investigation should it be viewed, and under what circumstances?  These questions are debatable among workplace investigators, but I have my preference, and of course, an… Continue Reading

Retaliation Against Witness Who Cooperated in Sexual Harassment Investigation Costs $1.5 Million

Posted in Retaliation

On Monday, a jury awarded former Nashville Tennessee school employee Vicky Crawford $1.5 million after she claimed she was wrongfully terminated in 2003 because she cooperated in the sexual harassment investigation of a school official.  Last January, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Crawford could sue for "retaliation" even though she was not the one… Continue Reading

What’s the Difference Between a Sexual Harassment Investigation and a Sexual Discrimination Investigation?

Posted in Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment

In sexual harassment investigations, the words "harassment" and "discrimination" are oftentimes used interchangeably by the complainant and witnesses.  Even formal complaints drafted by the lawyers allege the same exact incidents to form the basis of the "Sexual Harassment Cause of Action" and the "Sex Discrimination Cause of Action."   We know that sexual harassment is… Continue Reading

What Makes a Workplace Investigation Thorough?

Posted in Investigation Tips

The California Supreme Court in Cotran v. Rollins Hudig Hall International, Inc. established what constitutes "good cause" to terminate an employee under an implied contract that requires "good cause" to terminate.  The Court held that in such cases an employer does not have to prove that allegations of misconduct are true, just that the employer fairly… Continue Reading