The tricky thing about discrimination in the workplace is that damaging shots can be firing in all directions long before they appear on leadership’s radar. What begins as a veiled microaggression here and there can quickly escalate when a perpetrator feels emboldened. On the other side of the equation, when an employee finds themselves a victim of discrimination—whether on the basis of race, sexual orientation, age, gender, or disability—they may find it hard to know where to turn. If nobody raises the alarm, all too often, nobody pulls the trigger on a much-needed workplace HR investigation, allowing chaos to rule supreme.

Particularly when corporate culture has taken an unhealthy turn, the targeted employee may feel isolated and in fear of retaliation if they report their experiences. As such, it is always best to treat a discrimination complaint as the tip of the iceberg. Of course, you hope that the true extent of a far larger problem isn’t lurking below the surface—but you launch your workplace investigations as if it might be. Only then can you ensure that you’re doing your employees justice and protecting your company from unwelcome consequences on the road ahead.

The Key To Conducting Workplace Investigations

When a discrimination complaint lands on your desk, it’s understandable that you’d want to keep it on the down-low while you piece the facts together. However, this represents a perilous moment in terms of decision making, because every step taken may invoke complications if the complaint ever leads to litigation. You’re going to need to be able to demonstrate that workplace investigations were impartial, diligent, and by the book. If there is any doubt that your HR team can be objective when investigating complaints in the workplace, it is always best to call in an independent workplace investigator.

Equally important is keeping in mind that a one-size-fits-all workplace investigations template might leave a lot to be desired. If the right workplace investigation questions aren’t asked, or optimal workplace investigations best practices aren’t followed, the resulting report may not be worth the paper its printed on—leaving your business open to legal action from the complainant or an unfair dismissal suit from the accused. When the matter at hand is of a delicate nature, discreet third party workplace investigations support represents the safest and most responsible route.

How To Conduct a Workplace Investigation With External Assistance

When workplace misconduct investigations arise, a dedicated workplace investigator can provide unparalleled navigational assistance. Their presence will lift the burden of investigating colleagues from the shoulders of your HR team while ensuring minimal disruption to your day-to-day operations. When conducting workplace investigations, a trusted corporate investigator will harness a broad skill set including excellent interpersonal skills, strict confidentiality, practised information gathering, and—where necessary—surveillance techniques in the name of resolving the matter. The result is peace of mind for you and your team, and a workplace investigations report that you can trust.
As an employer, you of course have a responsibility to nurture a discrimination-free environment for your employees. With this in mind, an increasing number of companies choose to get ahead of potential risk with periodic Corporate Culture Audits. This simple practice prevents the unhealthy environment within which discrimination might seed from becoming established. So, whether you are investigating complaints in the workplace or hoping to avoid the need to do so in the first place, Lauth Investigations is ready to assist. Learn more about our expertise in the area of workplace discrimination. Alternatively, contact our team directly to discuss your unique needs in detail, and receive a free no-obligation quote.