What Practical Steps Can You Take in Workplace Investigations? Serious Misconduct or Employee Threatening Behaviors

What Practical Steps Can You Take in Workplace Investigations? Serious Misconduct or Employee Threatening Behaviors

Every business owner knows the satisfaction that comes with smooth day-to-day operations and how sacred that kind of productivity truly is. But it only takes one individual—whether it’s a threatening employee or someone engaging in other types of serious misconduct—to turn everything upside down. This is why workplace investigations are an essential element to any thriving business model.

As a leader, if the buck stops with you in such a situation, it can be tricky to know what steps to take first. The choices you make in the coming hours and days will define how much disruption the rest of your team will endure and whether the situation is resolved quickly or starts to escalate. 

But don’t panic. It’s time to take a deep breath and get practical about remedial action. As seasoned corporate investigators, we support businesses navigating this kind of workplace misconduct every day. So discover here key questions that we encourage you to ask yourself as well as our tips on how to steer the course from here. Plus, if you need extra support, we’re only a phone call away.

Taking Action is Everything

Far too many employers who see an employee threatening someone on their staff or get reports of workplace misconduct bury their heads. They don’t want to deal with the repercussions of taking on someone who might play an essential role, or they are intimidated by the prospect of associated mounting paperwork. But this strategy is highly flawed, because if what’s unfolding before you now should later lead to litigation, your delayed response could be considered negligent, drawing substantial legal costs or fines.

“Is remedial action required, such as calling law enforcement, seeking medical support, or making a dangerous condition safe?”

Instead, any complaint of a threatening employee or other serious misconduct allegation should be taken seriously, documented, and acted upon immediately. You need to think of your position as similar to that of a “first responder”. Your staff—and your customer base if this later gets out—need to see that you have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to misconduct.

Safeguard Your Team

Unless you witnessed serious misconduct or threatening behavior yourself, you may not know the truth of any allegation just yet. However, there are steps you can take to safeguard your team until the facts come to light. Particularly if you’ve heard reports of an employee threatening, bullying, or harassing one of their colleagues, you’ll want to take steps to make the complainant feel secure.

“Should we suspend the accused individual for the duration of the investigation and does the complainant need further support?”

This may include moving their workstation, changing their working hours, or putting the accused employee on paid administrative leave. The latter becomes more relevant if it may be necessary to ensure the rest of your team also feel safe in the workplace. Taking temporary measures to ensure that all individuals involved are separated or removed from the premises where appropriate will mitigate the possibility of any further threat.

Gather and Preserve Evidence

Evidence gathering is key to all workplace investigations. This includes gathering documented evidence, CCTV footage, digital records, and—perhaps most crucially—complainant, suspect, and witness statements while memories are fresh. 

“What evidence do we need to preserve and whose statements do we need to take? If we uncover a possible crime, what is our reporting obligation?”

All investigative steps taken and interviews conducted must be fully documented including times and dates. Be sure to follow practical and legal guidelines, for example informing the witness of the investigator’s identity, that there will be no retaliation or reward for participation, and how their testimony may be used. The individual charged with conducting this process must be impartial—so free from any relationship with the parties involved.

Drawing and Acting Upon Conclusions

When workplace investigations are launched in response to a complaint about a threatening employee or serious workplace misconduct, the diligence and integrity of their totality are what will ensure a solid conclusion. When every step has been taken by the book, the employer can feel confident to pursue disciplinary steps or enact a dismissal, however, it is important to remember that the story doesn’t always end there.

“Do we have a media response prepared if necessary and what are our policies on external communications?”

Particularly when a threatening employee is let go, it is always best to be prepared in case they bring a wrongful dismissal claim against your company. When prepared for worst case scenarios, any boat rocking can be minimized. You can preempt anything that may impact public perception and have your team ready if a legal issue is raised—all while hoping for the best, which is of course a return to smooth and satisfying productivity.
Do you need impartial and expert support in mounting workplace investigations following serious misconduct or due to a threatening employee? The corporate team here at Lauth Investigations International specializes in conducting swift, discreet, and professional investigations and are ever-ready to guide you through the process. Reach out today to learn more about the various ways in which we can assist.

Why External Assistance in Workplace Investigations Is Best for Your Business

Why External Assistance in Workplace Investigations Is Best for Your Business

If something has gone seriously sideways in your place of business and you need to launch an internal corporate investigation, there is good reason to pause before deciding to do the whole thing in-house. If the allegations are serious then there’s a good chance that your corporate internal investigations will lead to a termination. If so, you’d best make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row.

Wrongful termination can lead to some mighty expensive lawsuits if the employee on the receiving end sets sights on pursuing legal recourse. The costs of a settlement of this kind can land anywhere between $5,000 and more than $100,000 depending on the circumstances. Making matters worse, those figures don’t even include additional fees such as punitive and compensatory damages or attorney and court fees.

So, what’s the single best way to protect your business against the risks of a wrongful termination lawsuit? Simply put, it’s to ensure that your internal corporate investigations are ironclad and 100% impartial. But, in a workplace that sees your HR and leadership teams mingling with other departments at every wine-infused office social, that’s almost impossible to guarantee. The answer is to bring in an outsider to assist with the corporate investigation process. Here’s what you need to know:

Advantages of External Assistance in Workplace Investigations

There’s no escaping the fact that internal corporate investigations take up time and effort that most companies don’t have to spare. The department head or HR manager tasked with leading the investigation is pulled away from their other duties, leaving a gaping hole in productivity. This role can impact their morale and those who work alongside them. Meanwhile, if they don’t do a stand-up job, the ripple effect of unconstructive interviews or sloppily gathered evidence can travel through the wider team.

In contrast, a professional corporate investigator is trained to move through the corporate investigation process swiftly, discreetly, and diligently. They will ensure that disruption is minimal and that all affected employees are handled with courtesy and compassion. At the same time, free from any of the biases that a colleague would have, the corporate investigator can use gathered evidence to create an impartial map of the facts. In doing so, they will allow your company to draw conclusions and make disciplinary decisions with total confidence.

Entrust the Corporate Investigations Process to Lauth Investigations International

We work with organizations of every scale daily, helping them avoid the pitfalls of the investigatory process that might otherwise lead to escalating employee misconduct or costly legal battles. We can cover every area of the spectrum, from prevention to legal support and everything in between.

If you want to reduce the risks that leave your business open to things like theft, embezzlement, white collar crime, time theft, and more, we can help you sure up your defenses with comprehensive employee background checks, violence and threat assessments, and corporate culture audits. 
If, however, the red flags are already flying, then we can help you navigate the minefield before you. We’ll root out those undermining your success with an air-tight corporate investigation process that yields real results. Plus, if a legal issue arises, our expert investigators will be ready with documented evidence and the capacity to provide court testimony if called upon. Are you ready to learn more? Then reach out  to our team today. A consultation comes with no obligation, but it might save you from a whole lot of heartache.

Workplace Investigations and How They Can Assist With Bullying or Violence in the Workplace

Workplace Investigations and How They Can Assist With Bullying or Violence in the Workplace

What’s the best way to get your team to thrive and drive profits? According to 94% of entrepreneurs, when it comes to achieving success, establishing a healthy culture at work is vital. Employees should feel comfortable, confident, and psychologically safe in order to do their best work. However, bullying and violence in the workplace are at epidemic proportions in America. Could it be happening among your employees too?

Back in 1998, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management acknowledged bullying as a form of workplace violence. So, whether we’re talking about attacks that are physical or purely psychological in nature, it is clear that preventing workplace bullying and violence is a core duty for every organization.

Despite this shift in perception, research reveals that 79% of working professionals have indirectly experienced or witnessed bullying or worse at work. The associated emotional and physical toll plays out across the lives of those involved and the bottom lines of the businesses dropping the ball. So, what can you do to stop violence and bullying in the workplace in its tracks? An expert corporate investigator is an ideal collaborator to stamp out these issues at their root and restore corporate culture to its destined strength and capability.

Leveraging Workplace Investigations to Prevent Bullying and Violence

The risk of workplace bullying, assault, and other forms of violence can be minimized when employers take precautions. One of the best places to start is in raising general awareness and establishing a zero-tolerance policy. Did you know that 55% of human resources professionals do not know if their organization has a workplace violence prevention program? If your HR department could be nestled within that statistic, then it’s time to take action.

For companies where corporate culture has eroded and unacceptable patterns of behavior have become ingrained, sometimes setting new policy and even scheduling team members for related training can be insufficient to fully course-correct. In these instances, enlisting the help of a specialized corporate investigator can provide just the jolt required to finally turn the page on workplace bullying and violence.

A corporate investigations company can offer an array of preventative and reactionary approaches, allowing you to not only win the battle on violence in the workplace, but win the war too. These include:

Together, these resources can be used to identify vulnerabilities and opportunities to shift the status quo onto permanently higher ground.

Why Invest In Workplace Bullying and Violence Prevention?

The cost to pursue these kinds of prevention tactics may seem prohibitive, but research indicates that for every dollar a company invests in safety, they save somewhere between $3 to $5. After all, the financial drain that all forms of workplace violence represent for companies like yours include not only the untold losses in team productivity and staff turnover but also the potential for legal fees and even fines if a portion of culpability should ever land on your doorstep. 

In contrast, a safe and secure workplace with a synergistic team dynamic is one that will inevitably push profits to their potential while attracting the best future talent. These kinds of rewards are priceless. 
So there’s no reason to hesitate when it comes to designing a thoughtful workplace violence prevention program and drawing upon the resources required to implement it. If that means outside help is the best choice for your business, then the corporate team here at Lauth Investigations International is ready to provide the tailored support that you require. Reach out to us today to find out more.

Workplace Investigators: How to Get Assistance With Codes of Conduct or Constructive Discharge

Workplace Investigators: How to Get Assistance With Codes of Conduct or Constructive Discharge

Legislation relating to codes of conduct and constructive discharge aims to protect workers and companies alike from those with bad intentions. However, when any individual—on either side of the equation—finds themselves in hot water relating to these nuanced aspects of business operation, the path forwards can be difficult to identify. 

With that in mind, today we’re going to touch on questions such as obligations in relation to codes of conduct and answer the question, what is constructive discharge? We’ll also explore why a corporate investigations form can serve as a white night for those in need of guidance in these areas.

Codes of Conduct Obligations

Certain kinds of businesses and certainly all public companies are legally mandated to have codes of conduct in place. However, even those that are not obliged should consider this a powerful tool of self-protection with many associated rewards. The job of codes of conduct is to lay out the values, mission, and principles that the organization aspires to and relates them to the contractual commitments that each employee makes when entering the company. 

Well-written codes of conduct not only define desired behavior, but also serve as a powerful marketing tool—a public statement of intent. Finally, their mere presence is a form of risk mitigation, demonstrating a “good faith effort” to prevent illegal activity on the company’s watch and setting clear boundaries that those with nefarious intentions must actively decide to cross.

What Is Constructive Discharge?

Constructive discharge is the term used to describe when an employee resigns because their employee created a hostile work environment. Because the decision was forced rather than voluntary, it is seen in the eyes of the law as a termination, and as such, a wrongful termination claim can be brought after the fact.

Thanks to decisions made by the U.S. Supreme court in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), workplace discrimination can be the forbearer of constructive discharge, although the burden of proof for what constitutes “intolerable working conditions” must meet a high standard and be backed up by evidence. In this endeavor, a corporate-specialized private investigator can offer expert assistance in building a case or indeed disproving one.

The Employer’s Duty Vs the Employee’s Duty

Whether navigating action following an alleged breach of codes of conduct or a constructive dismissal, it can be important for each party to demonstrate their prior intentions. For example, an employer countering a claim of constructive dismissal may be able to demonstrate that the employee didn’t raise the alarm or provide the opportunity for the company to rectify the problem. Equally, an employee may be able to demonstrate that they asked for support but weren’t given any. Only in demonstrating that their employer acted on an illegal impulse or with discriminatory motives will their claim be successful.

Do you need assistance in navigating a matter relating to codes of conduct or constructive dismissal? If so, the corporate investigations team here at Lauth Investigations International is ready to provide critical support. If you require expert guidance and access to a seasoned investigator who can help you build a clear-cut case, we are only a phone call away. Get in touch today for a no-obligation consultation.

Yes, a Corporate Private Investigation Company Can Protect Against Corporate Theft – Here’s How

Yes, a Corporate Private Investigation Company Can Protect Against Corporate Theft – Here’s How

No matter how much money you throw at the latest security hardware, CCTV software, or highly-trained security guards, your company may still experience employee theft. For the vast majority of businesses, sadly, the greatest threats when it comes to losing assets are individuals working under the very same roof. So much so that 90% of thefts from workplaces come at the hands of the employees themselves. This makes preventing corporate theft a priority, so how can a corporate private investigator assist?

To prevent corporate theft effectively, it helps to keep in mind that it comes in many forms. A bad actor or two among your seemingly dedicated team may make off with money or inventory, certainly. But the thing they steal could just as equally be sensitive customer data, intellectual property, or even time itself. Whichever risk looms largest at your place of business, a corporate private investigator can assist with both prevention and damage mitigation. Read on to discover how.

Proactively Preventing Corporate Theft

The price tags that come with various tactics to prevent corporate theft may seem prohibitive but studies suggest that they are well worth the investment. To look at the example of employee fraud, researchers found that companies that invest in fraud prevention tend to spend 42% less on fraud responses such as litigation, fines, and penalties. A private corporate investigator is an ideal ally to minimize the possibility of future thefts.

Preventing those bad actors from entering your place of employment in the first place is inevitably rewarding when it comes to reducing employee theft risk. A private corporate investigator is uniquely poised to perform comprehensive background checks because their licensure grants them access to many of the same databases used by law enforcement.

Another excellent strategy for preventing corporate theft is ensuring that corporate culture is strong and thriving. Unhappy employees soon become disgruntled ones who may justify to themselves decisions such as bolstering their pay through embezzlement or simply turning a blind eye to a colleague engaged in inventory theft. To get a clear sense of your current corporate culture standing, speak to a Lauth private corporate investigator about the investigatory and remedial elements within a Corporate Culture Audit.

Damage Control From a Corporate Private Investigator

When a theft has already occurred—or even a pattern of employee theft emerged—a corporate private investigator will make quick work of illuminating the facts and nipping ongoing thievery in the bud. They alone can conduct an expert investigation that is entirely free from the legal risk of bias that comes with colleagues investigating each other.

Not only can showcasing zero-tolerance by enacting a swift assisted corporate theft investigation address the issue at hand, but it can also help to shift culture and safety in the workplace for the better. Nearly 60% of companies that conduct a diligent investigation end up in a better place in the long run, and those that combine all of the tactics above will be able to enjoy not only reduced threat risk and a more secure working environment but also an associated boost to productivity, team cohesion, and bottom line.
Are you ready to learn more about how a corporate private investigator can assist in preventing corporate theft? Reach out to the specialist team here at Lauth Investigations International for a no-obligation consultation on the tailored solutions that we can place at your disposal.