There are many types of employment law investigations that occur. Some investigations occur in house and are conducted by management. Typically, in house investigations are used to investigate allegations of harassment and discrimination, theft, dishonesty, and myriad other actions that could lead to discipline or termination. Employers should have written procedures detailing each part of the investigation before beginning them. For example, who will be the investigator; will legal counsel be involved in the investigation; why is the investigation occurring; who will be interviewed and why; what will happen with the interview records; what is the conclusion of the investigation; is the conclusion consistent with conclusions of past similar investigations? Taking the time to plan for an investigation is a tremendous defense to allegations that the investigation was done inappropriately or discriminatorily.
Employers should anticipate being investigated by a government agency. Many different state and federal agencies investigate many different types of workplace situations. For example, the EEOC and OCRC investigate charges of discrimination on behalf of employees, former employees, and sometimes members of the general public. The Department of Labor investigates wage and hour claims that allege employees are underpaid, misclassified, or are not receiving appropriate overtime compensation. US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement investigates whether employers have appropriate Form I-9s and other documents, if necessary, for each employee. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigates workplace safety issues either randomly, after certain workplace injuries or death, or as the result of a complaint. The National Labor Relations Board investigates allegations of unfair labor practices of both unionized and non-union workplaces.
Employers that anticipate being investigated by a government agency hire Austin Legal to prepare them for investigations or to ensure regular compliance with workplace laws. Austin Legal clients who are investigated usually exit the investigation unscathed or with a few minor blemishes – especially those who take advantage of Austin Legal’s employment general counsel plans.