Many of us are familiar with the expressions “shop talk” or “workplace banter” in reference to conversations that are presumed to occur in certain predominantly male workplaces, such as a construction site or an industrial worksite, but not in others.
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.
How many of you can relate to that feeling of relief and maybe even joy when you are “oh so close” to completing a task. As a workplace investigator, I can definitely relate. In my experience, it is a great feeling knowing that I am close to placing a checkmark beside an investigation and moving that investigation file to the “closed” section of my files.
In a recent Provincial Court of Alberta decision, Dupont v. Ag Growth International Inc. (AGI-Westeel), 2021 ABPC 118, the trial judge ruled that just cause termination was a disproportionate measure following a workplace investigation where the dismissed employee was found to have sexually harassed a female colleague. The employer subsequently appealed this decision to the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, who allowed the appeal.
You may have seen the news recently about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s resignation, following an investigation that concluded that he sexually harassed 11 women from 2013 to 2020. Investigators interviewed 179 people and ultimately found a pattern of unwanted touching and sexually suggestive and inappropriate comments towards staff, State employees and members of the public.
In the normal course of a workplace investigation, the investigator interviews the parties and the witnesses, obtains relevant documents, conducts follow-up interviews where needed, and then drafts a report using the evidence gathered.
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)…
Good investigators worry about timeliness – it’s a requirement of the job. On the one hand, we understand that we must be thorough and produce a good, legally defensible investigation report. On the other, we also know that there are parties and clients (whether internal or external), waiting for the results of the investigation.