Five employee complaints you need to investigate now

by on May 5, 2009 · 1 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

These five employee complaints should skyrocket to the top of your investigations “to-do” list when they cross your desk.

  1. Employee violence
  2. Unfortunately a workplace violence is a realistic concern these days with the proliferation of weapons and people’s unfortunate willingness to use them in the workplace.

    If you are investigating employee complaints of a violent nature, you may want at some point to consult a threat assessor, somebody who by profession is trained to look at threatening communications from employees, threatening behaviors and tell you just how serious they are and how serious your response should be. You may need to bring in a third party if violence is involved.

  3. Theft/Drugs
  4. If the employee complaints mention that theft is involved, you may want to consult law enforcement. In some cases where serious embezzlement was going on, companies have decided to bring in law enforcement as the very first step.

    Now, if you do that and the same point applies to drug use or distribution, if you bring in law enforcement, law enforcement will not want you tampering with the evidence. They will want you to have kept your hands off.

    And actually, if you decide to bring in law enforcement, you really shouldn’t do start an employee complaints investigation on your own until they have the first crack at it. Otherwise, the evidence they’re looking for may be tainted in some way that makes it unusable in a criminal case because the evidentiary standards there of course are quite high.

  5. Sarbanes-Oxley/ Accounting Irregularities
  6. You may want to bring in a forensic accountant or some other specialist in economic or securities issues to consult during the course of the employee complaints investigation about SOX or accounting issues.

    With regard to any issue that you’re investigating, you may want to bring in a computer forensics expert. It is becoming more frequent for people to try to delete traces of their electronic activity on computers and you may need the expert to try to restore those traces.

    Some folks think that when you hit delete on the computer, the email or whatever they’re trying to delete is actually gone. In fact, it’s not. It’s stored on the hard drive until it’s overwritten and a computer forensics expert can help you find those things, which often can be the smoking guns that determine the outcome of an investigation.

  7. Ethical code violations
  8. Ethics violations are something that may come up in employee complaints investigations. You may want to consult with the company’s track record of how it has interpreted certain ethical provisions during your investigation.

  9. False Claims Act issues under the Federal False Claims act
  10. Last but not least, government contractors both federal and state need to worry about False Claims Act issues under the Federal False Claims act and now several states have enacted their own False Claims Acts.

    And one consideration to keep in mind is those statutes – many of those statutes allow companies to effectively turn themselves in in hope of more lenient treatment. So those are called Voluntary Disclosure Program.

    So how you craft an investigation of a False Claims Act allegation is very sensitive and you need to involve experts and government contracts and somebody who knows how voluntary disclosure programs work to make sure you’re doing investigation in the right way. So as you can see there are any number of issues that can come up and any of number of people you may need help from as you are doing your employee complaints investigation thoroughly.

The serious nature and consequences for all these acts should make them an investigation priority you come across them.

1 Comment on This Post

  1. March 26, 2010 - 9:02 am

    The 14-year-old employee lawsuit: It could have been you

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