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.
I have been an adjudicator for four different administrative tribunals over the course of more than 20 years. This experience has served me well since I have found that many adjudicative skills are transferable to investigations.
In a recent blog post, I discussed a case where the Ontario Superior Court found an investigation to be inadequate and unfair because it was based on rumour, gossip, and hearsay, and ultimately resulted in the employer making an unjustified and costly decision to terminate an employee’s position.
A lot of work goes into producing an investigation report that is well-written and well-reasoned. But the finished product is more than just a set of words—it is also a visual experience for the reader. While visual elements such as white space and word font certainly enhance readability, in this blog post I focus on the communicative power of visual aids (images, tables, charts, etc.) and provide some best practices for including them in investigation reports.