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.
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.
My first experience with a workplace investigation was vicariously first-hand, when a close friend of mine was named as a respondent and I became their de facto support person. The investigation was ongoing for three months. During that time, my friend ate, slept, and breathed that investigation.
It has become somewhat of a Rubin Thomlinson tradition to host a webinar at the beginning of each year outlining our top 10 workplace investigation cases from the previous year. On January 14, 2021, we hosted our most well-attended webinar yet: The top 10 cases of 2020. Here are the discussed themes and a very brief summary of the presentation.
It seems like every time I see the news or read the paper, there are stories of trauma everywhere. This is partially because, sometimes, these are the stories the media features for “clicks.” But I think, more importantly, this is because trauma is just incredibly prevalent in the human experience.
On January 1, 2021, new regulations will come into force that will amend the Canada Labour Code (Code) and change how harassment and violence investigations are to be conducted in federally-regulated workplaces. Among the changes are the provisions surrounding the selection of a workplace investigator. Under the new regulations, an employer can appoint an investigator from a list of investigators that the employer has jointly developed with its health and safety representative, workplace committee, or policy committee.
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.