Employment concerns have always posed risk to organizations, but in light of the #MeToo movement and the growing attention on culture in the workplace, an organization’s efforts to address an employee’s complaint are critically important. Over the past year we have seen numerous examples of companies that have been caught unaware of the underlying turmoil and discontent among their employees. Adidas, Google, Nike, Uber, CBS have all featured prominently in the news, but smaller organizations and nonprofits have also been caught in the ensuing movement. Organizations and corporations may compromise their brand, reputation, donor base, customer relationships and sponsorships, as well as their ability to attract and retain talent and maintain productivity if an employee concern is not handled expediently or objectively. Employee concerns may be handled internally by a trained individual, but there are a number of reasons why a third-party investigator may be the best suited individual to interview complainant and any witnesses:
- The complaint names individuals in HR, Legal, senior employees, or a C-level employee and refers to prior concerns that were filed and went unnoticed. Or, perhaps, the complaint alleges that there are numerous other employees with similar concerns. Concerns of this nature should be investigated by an objective third-party, who is neutral and unbiased because of the possible conflict. The investigator may later serve as an expert witness if the complaint is brought as a legal complaint.
- If the investigation handled by a third-party investigator it is a fact-finding investigation, and does not compromise the integrity of the attorney-client privilege between the company/organization and its law firm or in-house counsel. A law firm or in-house counsel may ultimately defend the company/organization, but an investigator is there to simply investigate the complaint and find the facts. The investigator may also provide recommendations following the investigation.
- The number one reason to hire a third-party is – people trust an independent third-party who is being brought in to look at the complaint. Often during the course of an investigation, I have identified and noticed culture issues that may be addressed pro-actively by the organization. Ultimately, employees are more likely to talk to a neutral objective party.
- Finally, a third-party is thorough, expedient, and does not distract HR or Legal from its day to day operations.
In light of an average employment settlement costing a company/organization upwards of $50K, a third-party investigator is a cost-effective way to mitigate risk to the company/organization.
Contact Culturupt to learn more about our investigation services.