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Things You Don't (But Should) Know About Workplace Investigations

Dec 16, 2022

Do you recognize this fact pattern? An employee complains that her supervisor invited her to dinner and stands too close when talking to her at work. Does this constitute sexual harassment? 

Probably not, but the company still might get sued if terminates the employee at some point in the future. 

How can Employers defend themselves from harassment claims?

Conduct an investigation. Interview witnesses, get witness statements, implement policies and disciplinary practices.

Hire an investigator to ensure the investigation is conducted properly and is impartial.

Want to know how the employer gets itself in legal trouble?

It does what many companies do and tells the employee to "forget about it and go back to work."

Even with the best intentions, this will cause increased tensions, decrease productivity, increase employee turnover and increase costs to the company.

When employees complain, even if the complaint seems minor, make sure its properly addressed and resolved.

Here are a few things you probably don't (but should) know about workplace investigations

#1: Internal HR should NOT always be the investigator: True impartiality and bias are big ones here. An internal HR team conducting an investigation may have biases that interfere with the neutral process.

#2: The company’s employment lawyer may not be able to perform the investigation. The investigation may not be deemed impartial if the regular employment lawyer handles investigation due to its relationship with the company. Also, it places the employment lawyer in a position where he/she may be called as a witness.

#3: Hire a Lawyer so the company can assert attorney/client privilege. If the company hires a non-attorney or a private investigator, an attorney/client privilege may not be able to be asserted.

For more information on workplace investigations, please visit

Disclaimer: The information on this website is for educational purposes only. The information does not constitute legal advice, and does not create an attorney client relationship with Karly Wannos, The Wannos Law Firm, P.A. or any other attorney employed by the firm. Karly Wannos is licensed to practice law in Florida only, and the information presented on this channel applies to Florida and Federal law only and is not otherwise state specific. Please consult with an attorney before making any important business related decisions. This content on this website belongs to The Wannos Law Firm, P.A. The contents of this post are owned by Karly Wannos, and cannot be duplicated or replicated without her express written permission. May be deemed an attorney advertisement.

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