Workplace Harassment Investigations

A company is responsible for investigating any complaints of workplace bullying and harassment made by its employees. So as to ensure impartiality, many internal HR teams are choosing to have a third-party investigate these allegations. When a company goes out of its way to hire a third party investigator to investigate a complaint, it elevates employees’ confidence that the investigation will be unbiased. This minimizes any risk against the company with respect to any potential allegations of procedural unfairness.

With increasing demands being placed on internal HR teams, and insufficient resources to meet those demands, by retaining TSERGAS Human Capital’s team of HR professionals to conduct your workplace investigation, you save your organization time and you ensure that the investigation is conducted quickly and fairly.

Benefits of Using a 3rd Party for Workplace Investigations:

  • Preserve confidentiality by minimizing the number of employees who are made aware of the situation.
  • Avoid conflicts when faced with allegations made against internal HR representatives or high-ranking staff.
  • Increase employee morale and boost company credibility in front of the courts by hiring a third-party investigator, demonstrating the company’s commitment to taking harassment allegations seriously.
  • Mitigate risk by hiring professionals who thoroughly understand the process of conducting a formal investigation, the concept of procedural fairness, as well as other legal complexities.
  • A third-party investigator can help manage any potential issues or threats which may come to light while speaking with complainants, witnesses, and respondents.
  • A third-party investigator only relies on unbiased facts, helping to minimize any negative reactions that may result from the outcome of the investigation.
  • Many employees feel more comfortable opening up about their experiences with a neutral third party, helping employees feel more supported.
  • A third-party investigator can make recommendations to help prevent incidents of harassment from occurring in the future.

Your business’ Responsibility/Liability With Workplace Harassment

What happens when an employer ignores a workplace harassment claim?

Under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act, employers have a duty to investigate any and all claims of harassment or sexual harassment in the workplace. Both the employer and any individual employees involved in ignoring or covering up incidents of workplace harassment can be held liable. Retaining the services of a 3rd party investigator demonstrates to employees and the court that your company takes allegations of workplace harassment seriously and is committed to preserving employee safety and wellbeing. With TSERGAS Human Capital, our clients gain peace of mind from our thorough, impartial, and fully compliant approach to workplace investigations and workplace harassment and violence prevention.

What if an employee is dismissed without conducting a workplace harassment investigation?

The purpose of the workplace harassment investigation is to determine whether any wrongdoing has occurred, and if so, what the consequences should be. Therefore, an employee should not be disciplined unless and until they have been found complicit. While separating the claimant(s) from the accused during the investigation period is imperative, it is important to do so in a way that does not penalize the accused employee prematurely. If an employer decides to suspend an employee during the investigation period, it should be administrative and not disciplinary in nature. Any employee suspension that takes place during a workplace investigation should be with pay, and the investigation should be completed as quickly as possible to minimize the risk of a constructive dismissal claim.

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