Investigations During COVID-19

While many employers have a workforce working primarily ina remote capacity, the need for investigations has not diminished.

The need to investigate complaints remains at the forefront of an employer’s duties, and we do not expect a reduction in complaints even with the current events. We have already seen an increase in claims of wrongful termination or disparate treatment regarding reduction in force decisions or decreased shifts or hours. Additionally, the FBI has reported a rise in crimes toward protected classes, specifically Asian Americans, and we have seen this permeate into the workforce with an uptick in similar claims. An employer can defend itself against complaints by conducting a thorough, prompt, and impartial investigation.

The requirement remains the same, but we encourage flexibility in how you attain a proper investigation. While best practices dictate a one-on-one in-person interview, social distancing, and stay at home orders make this increasingly difficult. An investigator should use another means to conduct this interview. Many video conferencing platforms exist as well as video calling like FaceTime or Skype. Of course, a telephoned interview is always an option as well. Regardless of how you conduct an interview, be sure to let the interviewee know that this needs to be done in a private location and preferably in writing. Point out that privacy is especially important at a time when many families are home together.

We understand that this can be overwhelming during these uncertain times. We are here to help in any way possible. From consulting with you to conducting the investigation for you – Employers Council is here for you. Call 800.884.1328 or email Investigations@EmployersCouncil.org for help today.