We are now in a world where workplace harassment is taken much more seriously than it was before. Although some jurisdictions in Canada do not have an explicit legal obligation to investigate incidents of this nature, there is now a pressing moral obligation to do so. But when such a moral obligation is unmoored from legal principles or government-issued guidelines, there is a greater risk of unfairness to all parties. An investigation in this context is more likely to be guided by an emotional drive to either undermine those who raise complaints or persecute those who are alleged to have behaved badly, rather than arriving at factual findings from a neutral perspective using a fair investigation process.
Until the last few years formal workplace investigations were relatively uncommon. Recent changes to the law however have totally changed the legal landscape relating to workplace investigations. To reduce legal exposure and save costs, I believe most employers should ensure that at least one employee receives workplace investigation training. This blog discusses four scenarios where workplace investigations are required or recommended.