Workplace Complaints / Investigations


problem-449361_640You just received a complaint from an employee and you’re not sure if it’s the type of complaint that requires a formal investigation or just a coaching conversation. Determining if a workplace issue requires action and further evaluation is a must. Making the wrong decision when dealing with workplace complaints can be costly and time consuming. Time is of the essence and credibility is critical. Utilizing a third party to conduct internal investigations demonstrates a proactive approach to ensure that a system of checks and balances is in place, increasing the credibility of the investigation and avoiding accusations of impartiality.

You understand that conducting an objective and thorough investigation minimizes the risk that an employee could be disciplined or terminated for something they didn’t do. The purpose of the process is to gather facts and make a credible determination as to what happened in a given situation. If someone is thought to have violated a policy, guideline or procedure, this process helps you reach a conclusion that is based on the best facts available.

Despite your best efforts to treat people fairly, there will be times when someone feels they were treated unfairly. When an employee feels his or her rights have been trampled on or the organization’s policies and guidelines have not been applied evenly, it is essential that the organization be prepared to conduct a comprehensive, objective and professional investigation themselves or hire an expert to do it. How effectively these complaints are investigated and resolved can have potentially serious financial implications.



Conducting an effective investigation is an acquired skill gained from years of experience.  Individuals who conduct skilled investigations are excellent at the following:

  • Asking questions that enable them to extract information from people who may be reluctant to communicate.
  • Secure in their knowledge and process of determining that the people involved were treated objectively and fairly.
  • The ability to sort relevant from irrelevant details and make credible resolutions.
  • Have mechanisms built into their process to limit the intrusiveness that is inherent in the investigation process.