If you’re an employee, your employer has a right to know about any previous violations of the law that you may have committed. This is especially true if those violations could potentially threaten the safety or well-being of others in your workplace. Fortunately, investigations into previous employment violations are handled in a way that is fair and protects both the accuser and the accused.
What is an Employment Investigation?
An employment investigation is a detailed examination of the circumstances surrounding an individual’s previous employment, in order to uncover any possible violations of workplace laws. This type of inquiry typically entails gathering information from both the employee and their former employer, as well as conducting interviews and reviewing documentation.
Employment investigations can help employers identify and correct any violations that may have occurred in past jobs, including violations of minimum wage, overtime pay, safety standards, and other labor laws. By conducting an investigation thoroughly and objectively, employers can build a strong case against anyone they believe to have violated workplace regulations.
Employers who suspect that their employees have committed past labor violations should contact an experienced employment lawyer for guidance on how to proceed. An attorney can help craft an effective investigative strategy, assist with obtaining necessary documents and witnesses, and provide legal support during any ensuing litigation.
What are the Types of Investigations?
There are a number of different types of investigations that can take place in the workplace, and each has its own set of procedures and guidelines. Here are the four main types of workplace investigations:
- Employment verification or retention investigation: This type of investigation is designed to determine whether an employee is still employed by the company, and if not, why not. The investigator will typically work with the employee to gather evidence related to their job performance and past history with the company.
- Wage and hour investigation: This type of investigation is conducted to determine whether employees have been paid properly for their work, and if they have not, what steps need to be taken to rectify the situation. Investigators may interview employees, review pay records, and gather other relevant information related to wage and hour violations.
- Discrimination or harassment investigation: This type of investigation is used to determine whether employees have been subjected to discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability or any other protected class. Investigators may conduct interviews with employees or witnesses, review personnel files and policies, and collect other evidence related to potential violations.
- Whistleblower protection investigation: This type of investigation is used to protect employees who report suspected illegal activity within their workplace. Investigators may speak with witnesses and examine documents related to the alleged wrongdoing. If an employee believes they have been retaliated against for reporting misconduct, they should contact an attorney ASAP.
Each type of investigation has its own set of guidelines and procedures, and employees should be aware of them in order to protect their rights.
How to Prepare for an Employment Investigation?
When your business is involved in an investigation, it’s important to understand the basics of what will happen. An employment investigation can help uncover previous employment violations and may result in disciplinary action against the employee or termination of their employment.
The investigative process typically begins with a complaint from another party. This can be your competitor, a customer, or someone else affiliated with your business. The complainant will provide information about the alleged violation and may request that the investigation be conducted.
If you’re the target of an investigation, you’ll likely receive a letter from the investigator specifying the scope of their work and requesting that you respond to certain questions. You have the right to retain counsel if you so choose.
Once you’ve responded to all of the requests for information, the investigator will start interviewing witnesses and reviewing documents related to the case. It’s important to keep in mind that investigators are authorized to subpoena any relevant information they need in order to complete their investigation.
If you’re found responsible for an employment violation, penalties may include fines, suspension without pay, termination of your employment status, and/or criminal prosecution. If you have questions about what could happen during an investigation or how best to prepare for it, contact a legal expert.
What to Expect during an Employment Investigation?
Employers use investigations as an important tool to uncover previous employment violations. An investigation can help employers learn more about an employee’s past behavior and whether they have a history of violating company policies.
The process of conducting an investigation typically follows these steps:
- The employer begins by issuing a written warning to the employee, specifying the policy violation and the consequences for future violations.
- If the policy violation is not resolved, the employer may decide to investigate the claim further.
- The investigator will interview employees and other relevant parties, such as witnesses or victims of the alleged misconduct.
- After reviewing all evidence, the investigator will provide a final report with their findings and recommendations.
- If the employee is found to have violated company policy, they may be disciplined, fired, or both.
If you’re the victim of an employment violation, don’t hesitate to seek help from your employer’s human resources department. Investigations can uncover previous violations, and may provide you with recourse if you have been treated unfairly. Here are some steps that your HR representative may take during an investigation:
- Gather information about the incident, including who was involved and what happened.
- Contact any witnesses or victims of the alleged misconduct.
- Review company policies and regulations that may have been violated.
- Investigate whether any disciplinary action is warranted.