Not taking employee complaints seriously or failing to fully investigate them can lead to a world of trouble. First and foremost: do you have a well-crafted, thorough process in place for investigating complaints? Second and equally as important: do you follow that process consistently? Neither of these are optional! It takes only one mishandled complaint to threaten your company’s livelihood.
There are a number of factors to consider when properly and thoroughly conducting these investigations. Just to bring a few to your attention:
1) TIMING. It is EVERYTHING. When an employee makes a complaint, DO NOT DELAY in starting the investigation process. Even if the complaint seems frivolous- investigate it and investigate it fully and immediately. Failing to do so can cause unnecessary grief in the long run. You don’t want anyone to ever be able to say during the course of a formal complaint to an outside agency or a lawsuit that “They never listened to me”, “They didn’t take me seriously” or “I complained but they didn’t do anything”.
2) LEAVE NO STONE UNTURNED. You MUST conduct thorough interviews of the parties involved (the complaining employee and the accused) and you must talk to witnesses! Knowing how to conduct these interviews, who should be present during the interviews and what to ask is all important.
3) DOCUMENT EVERYTHING! Along with documenting each step along the way, you should prepare a full, detailed report that summarizes the investigation and findings, any disciplinary action taken, along with the basis for the action. Your legal counsel should review the report before it is finalized.
There are so many other important factors when it comes to conducting these kinds of investigations. Haphazardly dealing with these issues is dangerous. Whether you have 2 or 20 employees, this is not something you want to take lightly. Protect yourself on the front end so that you can avoid a lot of problems on the back end. Please contact us TODAY for assistance!!!
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