When one of the employees at your Nevada business comes forward with a complaint of misconduct, you should be prepared to take it seriously. With a system in place for receiving employee complaints, your workers can avoid feeling intimidated or embarrassed about coming forward with an issue. You should also be prepared to follow through with an investigation so that no employee’s rights are violated. 

According to Chron.com, when the matter involves a legal issue such as a claim of harassment, you could be facing litigation if the investigation is not handled correctly. Not only must you protect the rights of the worker who has filed the complaint, you must also ensure that the alleged offender’s rights are not violated. You could be in danger of a lawsuit if either employee feels that you have violated his or her right to privacy, or leaked personal information.

Human resources is typically the place where the complaint and investigation process begins. You may need to call on other departments or individuals for assistance, as well, including the following:

  • Upper management
  • Outside investigators
  • Consultants
  • Legal counsel
  • Witnesses

Often, confidentiality is an issue, which may be a challenge when conducting interviews with employees in a small company, department or team. 

The employee who is under investigation may request an attorney, and it is probably wise to let him or her have the opportunity to seek legal advice. Requesting time to speak to a lawyer should not be seen as obstructing the investigation, and if you terminate an employee after the request is made, you could open yourself up to litigation. If an employee who is a member of a union may be facing a disciplinary action or termination based on the results of the investigation, he or she may have a union representative present.

This information is general in nature, and is not intended to take the place of legal advice.