Employers have the legal duty to investigate anytime there is a complaint of harassment, discrimination or other potential legal violation is received. The legal requirement for workplace investigations is specified under Bill 132.
Ordinarily, a solid workplace investigation rests on four pillars; namely – fairness, thoroughness, timeliness and confidentiality. If not handled appropriately, the COVID – 19 crisis has the potential to rock that foundation in two ways – it may impact the fairness and timeliness of an investigation.
One of the questions we are often asked is how much information should be disclosed to a respondent during an investigation. Some feel that respondents are more likely to provide honest and candid information if they are taken by surprise as opposed to having advance notice of the allegations and supporting evidence. The fear is that with the information, a respondent may have more time to concoct a story in response to the allegations and evidence.