The biggest mistake human resources
professionals make in investigations is diving in head first without proper planning, says Miller Thomson partner Nicole Byres, who is head of the Labour and Employment Group in the firm's Vancouver office.
“You really need to invest time in the front end: who do you need to talk to, how are you going about it, what is the purpose, what are the other risks?” Byres says.
For example, if the main goal is simply to gather information then it may be wise to tell employees that they will not be disciplined for being open. However, if you think discipline is a likely outcome then people should be informed, and should have the opportunity to contact their union rep or counsel.
On page two: Tainted evidence and privacy concerns
When an issue arises that requires a workplace investigation it can be the start of a long and expensive process for an organization, especially if HR makes mistakes early on. What can you do to make sure your investigations hold up to scrutiny?