Workplace retaliation claims have dominated employment litigation cases for over a decade. In fact, the United States Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) reports that over half of the Charges of Discrimination filed with their agency cite "retaliation" as the basis for the Charge - and those numbers are climbing.
Creating an environment conducive to productivity and respect requires a solid foundation of clear policies, defining employee expectations. However, even the most comprehensive regulations won't be enough; companies must take proactive steps in response to any reports indicating hostile behavior or retaliation. Such incidents should always lead to swift investigation for maximum protection from liability.
For example, one federal court recognized that to establish a defense to a claim for sexual harassment, "the employer must prove that it took both preventative and corrective measures to remedy the sexual harassment... A prompt investigation is the hallmark of a reasonable corrective action."
One of the most important things an employer can do upon receipt of an employee complaint of discrimination, harassment, or wrongdoing in the workplace is to engage a Workplace Investigator for workplace investigations service. Not only is it a best business practice to act promptly in response to an employee complaint of misconduct, it is required under the law in many jurisdictions. It may also be crucial for establishing potential affirmative defenses in response to litigation.
Why Hire an External Workplace Investigator?
EEOC Guidance provides "whoever conducts the investigation should be well trained in the skills that are required for interviewing witnesses and evaluating credibility." An external Workplace Investigator conducting a workplace investigation can investigate the allegations and provide an unbiased opinion as to what occurred and recommended corrective action.
How to Choose an External Workplace Investigator
Most states regulate workplace investigations by requiring minimum qualifications for an individual to act as an investigator. It is important that anyone considering hiring an investigator for workplace investigations service ensures that the individual or company they are hiring meets those requirements to avoid potential problems with the investigation report or its findings at a later time, including in defense of litigation.
For example, in California, workplace investigations are governed by Cal. Business and Professions Code § 7521, et. seq. The Code defines workplace investigations as involving obtaining and reporting “information concerning [an] employer’s employees involving questions of integrity, honesty, breach of rules, or other standards of performance of job duties.”
Under California law, only individuals who are licensed as a private investigator or qualify for an exemption may legally conduct investigations, including investigations by private and public employers. One of those exemptions applies to attorneys - meaning that attorneys who are performing their duties as an attorney may legally conduct a workplace investigation in California.
An individual who conducts a workplace investigation without a license or exemption may be “guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of five thousand dollars ($5,000) or by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.” (Cal. B&P Code § 7523(b).)
Contact Moxie about Workplace Investigations Today
Have an employee complaint? Be proactive. Contact us at Moxie Mediation today to discuss how we can help with your third party neutral workplace investigations needs. Attorney Lindsey Wagner, AWI-CH, is a Certificate Holder in Workplace Investigations from the Association of Workplace Investigators and Attorney Jessica Homer has years of investigative experience.
Attorney Lindsey Wagner
Attorney Lindsey Wagner is an experienced California, Florida and Ohio workplace investigation lawyer.
After a decade of litigating employment claims in state and federal court, Lindsey transitioned her practice to focus on investigation services where she can help to address workplace conflict before litigation.
Her decade of experience litigating employment claims in state and federal courts on behalf of both employers and employees aids her in a deep understanding of the importance of prompt and comprehensive workplace investigations, even with the most delicate or sensitive sets of facts.
Lindsey prides herself on conducting ethical and fair investigations with compassion in order to build relationships with witnesses and discover the truth. Lindsey will work tirelessly to get to the bottom of any complaint and provide recommendations for best courses of actions based on the unique issues involved.
Lindsey offers third party neutral workplace investigations for employers across the United States and internationally and is a member of the Association of Workplace Investigators.
Attorney Lindsey Wagner is an Association of Workplace Investigator Certificate Holder. This means that she has demonstrated success at achieving the core knowledge and skills necessary to successfully perform impartial workplace investigations by achieving a passing score on assessments at the 2022 AWI Virtual Training Institute.
Attorney Jessica Homer
Attorney Jessica Homer is a skilled workplace investigator with an impressive track record of investigating and resolving complex workplace disputes.
With her diverse background and extensive education, Jessica brings a unique perspective and approach to her investigations. Her passion for investigations and training is evident in her lifelong commitment to learning and her belief in a more human approach to dealing with workplace relationships.
As a Florida licensed attorney and a Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional, she has received specialized training in Title IX, VII, VI, ADA and ADEA investigations, making her skilled in handling sensitive workplace disputes. Her experience working in student affairs, investigating employment discrimination complaints and serving as an Assistant General Counsel at Florida Gulf Coast University have all contributed to her depth of knowledge and expertise in the field.
Often times, employees find comfort in talking with an investigator who is hired from outside the business and may be more candid in the information they are willing to provide, which can result in the investigator's abilities to gather more candid information necessary to assess the complaints.
Hiring a California, Florida, and Ohio attorney like Lindsey Wagner or Florida Attorney Jessica Homer as your Third Party Neutral Investigator can also have certain attorney-client privilege benefits. This means the findings of the investigation may remain confidential in certain circumstances, instead of a Human Resource investigation, which may be discoverable in the event of future litigation.
In some situations, a court or jury may view an investigation conducted by a company's HR representative as biased, impacting the admissibility of the findings. Hiring an external investigator to conduct your company's neutral workplace investigations may neutralize the likelihood of such conclusions if litigation arises.
At Moxie, we specialize in providing innovative and comprehensive investigations into allegations of misconduct in workplaces, schools, and other organizations.
Our team of experienced investigators is well-versed in handling sensitive and high-profile cases of sexual harassment, discrimination, sexual abuse, and retaliation.
Our investigations are not only adequate, thorough, and efficient under the law, but they are also conducted by trained workplace investigators who understand legal requirements. With the constantly changing landscape of the future of work, including advances in technology and artificial intelligence, we are dedicated to staying ahead of the curve and providing cutting-edge services.
Our services extend beyond investigations. We offer employee and individual training to ensure everyone is aware of best practices for conduct in the workplace or organization, as well as customized policy writing and HR consulting to develop policies that are relevant to today's workplace.
At Moxie, we pride ourselves on our reputation for providing nationally recognized services.
A prompt investigation is paramount to ensuring a safe and productive working environment for your employees as well as minimizing potential exposure for ongoing prohibited actions. When an employer receives an employee complaint, it is imperative to commence an investigation into the claims immediately.
Moxie Mediation provides prompt and efficient third party neutral investigation services for employers as well as for executives.
Services include third party neutral investigations for the following:
We also offer third party neutral investigations for complaints, including complaints about the following:
We offer in-person/on-site workplace investigations, or remote investigations by phone or video conference. Contact us today for free consultation to discuss our workplace investigation services.
At Moxie, we offer in-person or remote third party neutral workplace investigations services via phone and/or videoconference (Zoom, Skype, or Microsoft Teams).
We follow the Association of Workplace Investigator's Guiding Principals in conducting workplace investigations - the gold standard.
We Provide External Workplace Investigation Services in California
We provide neutral workplace investigations locally in Los Angeles County, California, Santa Barbara County, California, Orange County, California, San Luis Obispo County, California, Kern County, California, San Bernardino County, California, Inyo County, California, Ventura County, California, San Diego County, California, Riverside County, California, Napa County, California, Sonoma County, California, San Francisco County, California, Santa Cruz County, California, and Monterey County, California, as well as throughout the State of California.
We Provide External Workplace Investigation Services in Florida
We provide neutral workplace investigation services locally in Collier County, Florida, Lee County, Florida, Walton County, Florida, Santa Rosa County, Florida, Pinellas County, Florida, Sarasota County, Florida, Dade County, Florida, and Okaloosa County, Florida, as well as throughout the State of Florida.
We Provide Workplace Investigation Services in Ohio
We provide workplace investigation services locally in Delaware County, Ohio, Franklin County, Ohio, Fairfield County, Ohio, Madison County, Ohio, Erie County, Ohio, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Hamilton County, Ohio, and Butler County, Ohio as well as throughout the State of Ohio.
Contact us today for free consultation to discuss our external workplace investigation services.
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Moxie Mediation is not a law firm. To the extent legal services are necessary and/or anticipated, Attorney Lindsey Wagner provides legal services through Wagner Legal, P.C.