Workplace investigations are among the most unpleasant tasks an organization's HR is required to carry out. Workplace investigations are carried out for a number of reasons; yet, HR should keep its equanimity and objectivity in conducting workplace investigations, no matter for what reason they are required to do so, and no matter how grave the nature of the investigation is.
An HR workplace investigation may need to be carried out on any area relating to work. It could be of any employee, ranging from the sub staff to the highest levels. The problem for HR is that workplace investigations can happen over too many issues and aspects. They could range from indiscipline to absenteeism to fraud to sexual harassment. HR has to be prepared for any type of workplace investigation cases that come to it.
Irrespective of the kind of case that comes to it for workplace investigations, HR has to apply a few principles and methods of approaching them.
Some of the rules for the proper conduct of workplace investigations include:
The cost of conducting a workplace investigation shoddily can cost the organization quite dear. A recent instance that comes to mind is of the well-known global giant, IBM, which was ordered by a judge to shell out over $ four million in damages to a former vice-president, in which the company's HR investigator was revealed to have concealed the better aspects of the employee's performance and behavior with the intention of presenting an apparently favorable case for his dismissal on age grounds.