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Serious insight for serious situations.

Serious insight for serious situations.

Workplace investigations: When to start and how to finish

We speak (and blog and train) often about how to conduct a workplace investigation. However, it’s important to remember that employers need to be aware of their legal obligations relating to when to start one and how to finish it. Two recent decisions provide important information about these investigation bookends.

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Three tips for ensuring your investigation reports do not encourage employer missteps

Under Ontario’s human rights jurisprudence, when an employee raises a complaint of discrimination, the employer has a duty to address that complaint. The employer’s response to a complaint, including the investigation it undertakes, must meet a standard of “reasonableness.”

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Addressing conflicts in the workplace caused by historical complaints

A challenging question that employers may face is how to respond to historical complaints of harmful behaviour when such complaints arise and cause conflict in the workplace. It is not unusual for complaints to not be brought forward immediately. At times we see complaints of incidents dating back a few years, sometimes even over a decade.

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Jocks and locker room talk? Lessons for workplace investigators from research on student athletes and sexualized violence

Over the past several years, high profile allegations, investigations, and findings of sexualized violence in sports have garnered significant media attention, both within Canada and around the world. As a workplace investigator who focuses on investigations and assessments in the education sector, these incidents have gotten me thinking about the intersection between secondary and post-secondary institutions, athletes, and misconduct.

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Assessing credibility: avoiding common pitfalls in workplace investigation reports

Writing about credibility is one of the most challenging aspects of workplace investigation reports. As someone who reviews a lot of reports, I find that investigators usually have a good sense of who is credible and who is not, but they can struggle to write about how they assessed credibility. This is especially true of newer investigators.

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“It wasn’t me”: When respondents deny everything and give you nothing

In the course of a workplace investigation, it is not unusual to encounter a respondent who simply denies the allegations, without offering any further information or explanation. While a simple denial may sometimes be a sufficient response to an allegation, there are instances where there is seemingly more to the story than what the respondent is offering.

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Investigating allegations against senior leaders

It is not out of the ordinary for our firm to conduct workplace investigations involving very senior leaders – presidents, CEOs, senior vice-presidents, partners (in the case of law and accounting firms, for example), school principals, and even board members. While complaints against these individuals may not be the norm, they certainly do exist.

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Can jokes amount to harassment if no one told the jokester to stop?

“How was I to know they were offended by my jokes? They never told me they were uncomfortable.”

Jokes between colleagues can be an important contributor to positive workplace culture. Unfortunately, some employees are subjected to jokes and teasing that is offensive or demeaning.

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