Disclaimer: The use of the internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.
Workplace Investigations in New Jersey
With the ever-increasing rights and protections for individuals in the workplace, employers have a legal responsibility to investigate both informal and formal complaints of unlawful workplace activity made by their employees, which include but are not limited to, allegations of discrimination, harassment, and hostile work environment, and workplace retaliation. Such investigations generally result in a written report containing findings and conclusions, and may serve as an important defense for the employer in the event there is ensuing litigation over the subject of investigation. In addition, the investigator may become a fact witness in the event of litigation. Accordingly, it is important for employers to hire experienced legal counsel to conduct the workplace investigation.
The Purpose of Internal Investigations
The purpose of an internal workplace investigation is to gather information about potential violations of company policies, laws, or unethical behavior that may have occurred within the workplace. It aims to determine the facts and assess responsibility for the alleged misconduct and make recommendations for resolution and improvement of the workplace environment. The investigation helps to ensure a fair and impartial assessment of the situation, promote accountability, and maintain the integrity of the organization.
When is an Internal Investigation Necessary?
An internal workplace investigation is necessary when there is an allegation of misconduct, such as harassment, discrimination, violation of company policies, unethical behavior, or other similar issues. It is also necessary in cases where the company receives a complaint from an employee, a regulatory agency, or in response to other indications of possible misconduct. An internal investigation can provide valuable information that helps the organization to take appropriate action and address any issues that may negatively impact the workplace. However, it’s important to note that internal investigations should only be conducted when necessary and in a manner that is consistent with the company’s policies and legal obligations.
The Process of Workplace Investigations
The process of a workplace investigation typically involves the following steps:
- Planning and Preparation: The employer identifies the purpose of the investigation, establishes the scope, and selects an investigator.
- Gathering Information: The investigator gathers relevant information through interviews, document review, and other means to establish the facts of the situation.
- Analysis of Evidence: The investigator reviews and analyzes the evidence to determine the credibility of the allegations.
- Determining Findings: Based on the evidence, the investigator determines the findings and reaches conclusions about the allegations.
- Reporting: The investigator prepares a written report that summarizes the findings, conclusions, and any recommendations.
- Follow-Up: The employer implements any necessary corrective action based on the findings and recommendations from the investigation report.
It’s important to note that workplace investigations should be conducted in a manner that is fair, impartial, and consistent with the company’s policies and legal obligations. Additionally, confidentiality should be maintained to the greatest extent possible, and all parties involved should be treated with respect throughout the process.
What Happens After a Workplace Investigation?
After a workplace investigation, the following actions typically occur:
- Report Review: The findings and recommendations of the investigation report are reviewed by senior management or a designated decision-making body.
- Corrective Action: Based on the findings, the employer may take disciplinary action, implement policy changes, or take other steps to address the issue and prevent it from happening again.
- Communication: The employer communicates the outcome of the investigation to all relevant parties, including the employees involved and any affected stakeholders.
- Record Keeping: The investigation report and related documentation are retained as part of the employer’s records for future reference.
- Monitoring and Evaluation: The employer monitors the situation to ensure that the corrective actions taken are effective and that similar issues do not arise in the future.
Our Experienced New Jersey Attorneys are Here to Help
The New Jersey employment lawyers at CMS have extensive experience conducting independent fact-finding workplace investigations and are here to assist employers with this process. If you need a trusted employment lawyer to conduct a workplace investigation, please contact Curcio Mirzaian Sirot LLC.