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Internal or External Investigation? What to choose.

By Ayla Salyn (posts)

As a business owner,

maintaining a fair and harmonious work environment is crucial. When it comes to investigating workplace issues, electing whether to conduct the investigation internally or seek an external perspective is a significant decision.
Imagine a scenario where a long-term employee has filed a serious complaint against a senior manager in your company. You want to ensure fairness and transparency in resolving this matter. This is where the choice between an internal or external investigation becomes vital.
Let’s break it down.

Internal investigations have their advantages.

They can swiftly address smaller concerns, maintain confidentiality, and preserve the employer’s control over the investigation process. However, when the issue at hand involves higher management or there is a potential conflict of interest within your internal team, seeking an external investigator may be the better option.

External investigators

bring an impartial eye and specialized expertise to the table. They are not tangled up in the internal workplace dynamics, ensuring neutrality and trust in the investigation process. This is especially crucial when dealing with sensitive matters such as harassment, discrimination, or ethical misconduct claims.

So, why consider an external investigation?

For starters, external investigators can offer a fresh perspective on the issue. Their specialized skills and experience can delve into complexities that an internal team may overlook. This becomes especially valuable in cases with substantial legal implications or incidents that span multiple company locations.

Let’s consider a scenario where an employee in your sales department feels harassed but does not feel comfortable reporting it internally due to concerns about favoritism. Bringing in an external investigator ensures an unbiased investigation, reassures employees, and maintains your company’s integrity.

Moreover, selecting an impartial external investigator can ensure there are no prior relationships or biases with the investigator and your organization or the parties involved. This objectivity is critical, especially when handling delicate issues that require confidentiality and fairness.

When should you opt for an external investigation?

In essence, consider it when objectivity, expertise, or internal potential conflicts are significant concerns. By choosing an external investigator, you are ensuring a transparent, just, and thorough investigation process. Although it may seem like an added step, this decision upholds your company’s credibility, fosters trust among your employees, and ensures a fair resolution of the issue at hand.

Remember, every situation is unique, and considering the specific circumstances before deciding on an investigation approach is crucial. By understanding the advantages of an external investigation, you empower your organization to navigate sensitive issues effectively while maintaining a fair and respectful workplace for all.

If you need guidance conducting an internal workplace investigation, or are looking for an external investigator, contact a member of our Workplace Law team to facilitate that connection – we’re here to help.

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