Sometimes, allegations of workplace misconduct will be clearly articulated and will be backed up by first-hand evidence of inappropriate behaviour or harassment, and employers will take the appropriate steps to conduct a fair and impartial investigation to determine whether such allegations are well founded.
We’ve been hearing much talk about the “Great Resignation” – specifically, between April and September 2021, more than 24 million American employees left their jobs, an all-time record. While the same hasn’t yet been seen in Canada, experts speculate that this may just be delayed…
In August 2020, my colleague Veronica Howard and I published a blog on conducting workplace assessments under Bill C-65. At that time, Bill C-65 and the related Regulations set out the requirements that federally regulated employers were required to meet in order to satisfy their obligations under the Canada Labour Code (CLC)…
When conducting a workplace investigation, particularly those involving allegations of discrimination, harassment, or reprisal, one issue that may arise is the relevance of the intentions of the respondent.
Remote work was once considered a privilege. Requests to work from home were largely denied and granted only in special cases. As the March 2020 lockdown went into full effect and office buildings emptied, once bustling downtown cores became near ghost towns. For the last fifteen months, remote work has been the status quo. Fears of low employee productivity have largely been allayed. In fact, some organizations have spent in the millions building up VPNs and infrastructure to enable remote work.
In my last blog, I discussed “Restoring the workplace before a harassment or discrimination investigation.” However, what if the horse is already out the barn? An investigation has been conducted; relationships in the workplace are broken; the environment has become toxic because of the situation, the investigation, or both; there is a lack of trust; productivity is low; and/or communication is poor. How do you restore the workplace now?
Fortunately, or unfortunately, harassment and discrimination investigations have become quite prevalent in the workplace in recent years. Notwithstanding the legislative mandate, it is a positive indication when organizations are responding to complaints of harassment and discrimination within their workplace. However, in my experience as a workplace investigator, I often see quite clearly that, before an organization decides to pursue an investigation, there are multiple opportunities to address some of the issues by using less adversarial means.
As workplace investigators, it is important to be mindful of how you frame your questions when interviewing parties to an investigation. Framing is even more important when engaged in discussions about an individual’s identity (e.g., sexual orientation, race, nationality, religion, etc.).