HR Investigations in the Workplace

By May 1st, 2018HR Blog

HR-Lady-on-the-phoneBy Jenny Kazan-Mills, SPHR

Conducting effective investigations in the workplace is essential to avoid litigation.
Here’s a scenario which demonstrates what not to do:

Scene:  Extremely busy HR Department

(Telephone:  Ring, Ring Ring)

Hilda Human Resources:       “Hello.”

Ethel Employee:                     “This is Ethel from the “x” Department and I want to file a serious complaint.”

Hilda Human Resources:       “What?”  “Who are you?”  “What department?”

Ethel Employee:                     “This is Ethel from “x” Department and I want to file a serious complaint.”

Hilda Human Resources:       “Have you talked with your supervisor?”

Ethen Employee:                    “The complaint is has to do with my supervisor.”

Hilda Human Resources:       “I’m swamped and can’t talk to you right now.” “Can you call me back next week?”

Ethel Employee:                     “Really?  I guess so.”

(One week goes by)

(Telephone:  Ring, Ring Ring)

Hilda Human Resources:       “Hello.”

Ethel Employee:                     “This is Ethel from “x” Department calling you back.  I talked with you last week.”

Hilda Human Resources:       “Oh yah, I remember you…what seems to be the problem?”

Ethel Employee:                     “My supervisor has been making racial and sexual comments in our workgroup and I’m uncomfortable.”

Hilda Human Resources:       “Oh, I’m sure he’s not serious…he’s just trying to make the workplace a fun place to work.”

Ethel Employee:                     “But, I’m uncomfortable and so are my co-workers.”

Hilda Human Resources:       “Really, all right…I’ll look into it, but I’m sure he’s just joking and trying to build teamwork.  Don’t be so serious.”

(Two weeks goes by)

(Ring, ring, ring)

Ethel Employee:                     “Hello.”

Hilda Human Resources:       “Hi Ethel, we looked into it last week and your supervisor was just joking around.  I wouldn’t worry about it…just do your work and everything will be fine.  Also, try not to make waves.”

(Two months later Hilda receives a complaint from the DFEH)

Learn how to conduct legal and effective workplace investigations by attending SDEA’s training on Tuesday, March 11, 2014, facilitated by Cecile Bereal. Cecile serves as founder of RMA Management Alliance, Inc.  She specializes in human resources as it relates to employee relations, investigations, facilitations and collaborations.

Contact us: 858.505.0024