As workplace investigators, we regularly conduct interviews where the interviewee is accompanied by a representative from their union or association. Many collective agreements have provisions that allow employees to have their representative present during any interviews that are conducted as part of a workplace investigation, regardless of whether the employee participates as a party to the investigation or as a witness.
Before joining Rubin Thomlinson, we both worked in-house in large organizations, overseeing workplace investigations. Internal investigations can be tricky to navigate; opportunities for conflicts and confidentiality breaches are heightened when investigators work among those who they are investigating.
At the outset of an investigation, investigators need to consider how they will collect the verbal evidence from their interviewees. One of the best ways to ensure the accuracy of the evidence collected is to use a recording device.
This is a question that I have had to answer a few times in the last year. Here is a description of each process and the main differences between the two.
What seems like a really long time ago, I wrote in one of my blogs that I would be doing a series on whistleblowing. It seemed like a great idea at the time: there isn’t that much practical information about whistleblowing out there and I have a lot to share on the topic given that I have done work in this field for many years. But then, a pandemic happened, and my “series” didn’t quite get off the ground. I’ve come back to the topic, though, as I’ve been fielding some questions about it lately.
In our workplace investigation training sessions, we often talk about “the four pillars” of the investigation process — fairness, thoroughness, timeliness, and confidentiality — as the foundation of a solid investigation. Here, I briefly explain how “cancel culture” can impact fairness, thoroughness, and confidentiality.
In our workplace investigation training sessions, we often talk about the four pillars of the investigation process: fairness, thoroughness, timeliness, and confidentiality. The recent decision of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (the “Tribunal”), Young v. O-I Canada Corp., is an example of an investigation under scrutiny due to its lack of thoroughness.
I must admit that pre-COVID-19, I was wary to conduct investigations virtually. This had more to do with my own discomfort with technology and videoconference platforms than anything else. Now, more than six months into the pandemic, it is hard to deny that virtual investigations may be around for the long haul. Below are some of our observations regarding conducting investigations remotely.