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What kind of workplace process does your company need?

July 5, 2024

What kind of workplace process does your company need?

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The Workplace Investigation team at KSW offer third party neutral investigation services, however a workplace investigation may not be what your company needs. Sometimes an informal process may be enough, or perhaps a formal internal investigation.

Here are a few factors to consider when assessing what process might be best for your company:

1. The power dynamic between the Complainant and Respondent

If the Complainant reports to the Respondent, or generally has less power in the company because of role, length of service, or age, then do not consider an informal process.  The power imbalance cannot be managed successfully in such cases, and a workplace investigator should be used that can assess whether or not there has been an abuse of authority.  

2. There will be an on-going working relationship between co-workers

Co-workers disagree and when those disagreements involve one or two racist or sexist comments or a single incident of bullying and harassment then an informal process may be the right process.  If there is only one Complainant and one Respondent, they were previously on good terms, and there is reflection and remorse on the part of the Respondent then an informal process where the Complainant can explain the impacts and have them acknowledged by the Respondent.

If there has been a problematic conduct between the co-workers for some time, and there are multiple allegations, then a formal investigation is recommended.

3. An anonymous complaint has been received

While difficult to know where to start, an anonymous complaint isn’t something that should be ignored, however without the identity of a Complainant it doesn’t lend itself to an informal process. Rather, an investigation should be undertaken with witnesses being interviewed first to understand the substance of the complaint and what should be reviewed with the Respondent.

If your company is looking for advice about Respect in the Workplace policies in British Columbia, including investigation procedures and informal and formal processes, please reach out to the KSW Workplace Investigations Team.

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