Workplace investigations have been around for quite some time as a way for diligent employers to address potential issues hindering the workplace. If, as a result of its long-standing use, they no longer appear cryptic in the eyes of some employees and employers, they still carry a perfume of mystery and elicit questions for many others. In my practice, most of the questions I hear from parties and witnesses in an investigation are procedure-based, pertaining to confidentiality or the length of the process.
If you are an investigator like me, you may have noticed the term “white fragility” has emerged in some of your cases, especially when the investigation involves claims of race-based harassment and/or discrimination. This may be as part of a complainant’s allegation, as in the respondent engaged in “white fragility,” or as part of a respondent’s response, as in “this is not a case of ‘white fragility’.” The concept has sparked much debate, as not everyone agrees with it.
On October 27, 2022, the Ontario government announced Bill 26, Strengthening Post-secondary Institutions and Students Act, 2022 (“Bill 26”). Beyond finalizing the legal name change of the former Ryerson University to the now Toronto Metropolitan University, Bill 26 proposes new rules on how Ontario post-secondary institutions (“PSI” or “PSIs”)…
Holiday season is almost here, and as workplace investigators, we know that during office holiday parties, some employees, managers, or directors who may have had one or two too many drinks sometimes engage in different types of misconduct – including vexatious comments or jokes, and unwelcome sexual advances or physical contact – that negatively impact individuals and that can even poison the work environment. This is borne out by the case law.
As lawyers who conduct both workplace investigations and workplace assessments, we often hear from employees who have been the target of workplace bullying.
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.
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).
An investigation usually involves a complainant and a respondent. The basic premise is that as workplace investigators, we hear what each party has to say, collect other relevant evidence, and then weigh the evidence to decide whether, on a balance of probabilities, the allegations are substantiated.