In the world of workplace investigations, we often hear of adopting a trauma-informed approach in sexual harassment cases. We especially heard this during the #MeToo movement, and, indeed, it was necessary.
Growing up as a young Black girl in a predominately White town, I always wore what we call in the Black communities a “protective hair style.” Specifically, I grew up wearing the single braid hairstyle to protect my hair from breakage caused by Old Man Winter.
Interviewing parties and witnesses for workplace investigations is one of the most interesting parts of being a workplace investigator. Interviews can also be one of the most challenging aspects of workplace investigations, and as a result, can also be anxiety-inducing.
If you’re a fan of the NBA (“the League”), as I am, you may have heard about two high profile stories that sprang up during the off-season. In the Western Conference, Robert Sarver, the owner of the Phoenix Suns , was suspended for one year and fined $10 million, following a large investigation into allegations of racism, misogyny, and bullying in the workplace (the details of which I will briefly get into later).
Some of the most serious forms of workplace or institutional investigations will involve the investigation of allegations of sexual assault. For post-secondary institutions (“PSIs”), incidents of sexual assault are, unfortunately, not uncommon. As evidenced by recent stories in the media, incidents of sexual assault can also arise in a variety of other workplaces and organizations.
Conducting an investigation that is thorough, fair, confidential, and timely is, to speak plainly, complicated work. Investigators must make many difficult judgement calls during the process, including which witnesses to interview, which records, texts, and emails to review, and how to weigh the various types of evidence when making findings of fact.
When HR departments become aware of a complaint, they should ask themselves the threshold question: If what is alleged is true, does it breach our policies or statutes? A recent decision of the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal (“the Tribunal”),…
In a workplace investigation, a corroborating witness is a person whose evidence supports or confirms the evidence of another witness, including a complainant or respondent. Given that people’s memories naturally fade over time, minor inconsistencies between witness accounts are often not significant and, in many cases, to be expected.