Retaliation and Eavesdropping Claims in Corporate Investigations

by on May 5, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Retaliation and eavesdropping claims are increasing with frequency

Retaliation claims
One of the many claims coming frequently out corporate investigations are claims of retaliation that a witness or the employee whose concerns are being investigated was a victim of retaliation. Hopefully, this article will give you some pointers today how to minimize those types of claims.

There are many laws outside of the discrimination, harassment or retaliation laws that can come into play during corporate investigations. In investigations of course, there’s the general law of defamation. So if an employee believes that the people in the company are going around calling them a thief or a sexual harasser obviously, this company can be sued for defamation.

There can be privacy concerns if a company looks at places that are not looked or confiscates personal items and what not confiscate. So delicacy is called for there particularly in some states like California that have constitutional rights of privacy which other states don’t have.

Polygraph issues
Polygraph laws, sometimes companies are tempted to polygraph employees about whether they engage in certain misconduct which may or may not be permissible under federal or state law. This needs to be very carefully checked out before doing it otherwise, you’re begging a lawsuit under those statutes.

There are federal and state eavesdropping laws both the old fashioned kind standing outside of a door or window and listening and the new fangled kind of intercepting electronic communications that need to be carefully adhered to in any investigation.

Don’t forget that employees may have the right to have somebody with them that is to have representation during a corporate investigation whether that representation is by a lawyer or by a union representative or by a coworker. The law in that will vary very much from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and how the state and federal laws are interpreted in those jurisdictions but that’s another point to get clear with your lawyers before you begin the investigation.

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