Are You Prepared To Handle Internal Employee Disputes?

naperville business lawyerUnfortunately, even with many people remotely working these days, employee confrontations and allegations still exist. This is a big cause for legal issues that arise within the human resources arena. How a company handles employee allegations and disputes directly reflects on the business’s company culture.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) are just some of the laws requiring employers to thoroughly investigate employee allegations. Employers must investigate claims of harassment, discrimination, safety violations, and other illegal actions and take the appropriate corrective measures.

If you are not prepared to handle internal employee disputes, it could end up costing your company considerable money in legal fees and cause irreparable damage to your company’s reputation. It’s important to have a plan in place so you can quickly and efficiently investigate any claims that arise.

Considerations When Investigating an Allegation or Employee Dispute

When an employer receives a report of sexual harassment, discriminatory actions, or other employee misconduct, the employer must tread cautiously.

Employers should be sure to:

  • Have a trained investigator on staff. The employer should designate a non-biased, knowledgeable, individual who knows how to properly collect evidence and interview employees to investigate the situation.
  • Notify the appropriate people. It is important to let the employees know that you take these claims seriously and will be investigating the allegations or dispute.
  • Investigate promptly. The quicker you can get to the bottom of the issue, the better.
  • Interview all witnesses and individuals involved in the dispute. Interviewing the complainant and accused individual is important, but these are not the only people employers should interview during the investigation. They must also speak to witnesses and other individuals involved in the situation.
  • Allow the employee to respond. After the employer has gathered all the facts and evidence, they should allow the accused employee to respond. Keep everything confidential.
  • Keep a detailed record. Employers should keep a detailed investigation facts report about how the employer found out about the allegation, the actions they took, and the rationale for the actions. 
  • Take appropriate disciplinary and corrective actions. If the investigation finds that misconduct occurred, the employer must take appropriate disciplinary action against the employee, up to and including termination.
  • Be impartial.  it’s important to keep emotions out of the investigation and make decisions based on the facts. Investigating internal employee disputes can be tricky, but it’s important to handle them quickly and efficiently to protect your company’s interests.

Investigating an employee allegation or dispute can be a daunting task, but it’s one that employers must take seriously. By being prepared and knowing the steps to take, you can minimize the legal risks and costs associated with these types of situations.

Call Us for Help

Internal employee disputes and allegations are just some of the many potential legal issues that employers face. If you need help handling an employee dispute or have any other questions about your legal obligations as an employer, contact us today. We can help you navigate these tricky waters and make sure you are in compliance with all the applicable laws. Call the Naperville business law attorneys at the Gierach Law Firm today at 630-756-1160 to schedule a consultation.

Sources:

SHRM

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

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Please note: These blogs have been created over a period of time and laws and information can change. For the most current information on a topic you are interested in please seek proper legal counsel.

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