CLAIMS OF MISCONDUCT AND DISCRIMINATION ARE A FACT OF LIFE IN TODAY'S WORKPLACE
Allegations of discrimination or misconduct can quickly grow into expensive and disruptive lawsuits if they’re not handled promptly and skillfully. The most critical step for an employer is how it investigates claims. The investigation is a legally significant undertaking; a poorly executed investigation can cripple an employer’s legitimate, good faith efforts to resolve the problem and deprive it of an important affirmative defense if litigation becomes unavoidable.
I have had more than four decades of experience as a lawyer investigating workplace misconduct and discrimination. I began my career with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) investigating and prosecuting unfair labor practice charges. I also served as a hearing officer responsible for recommending the composition of collective bargaining units and then conducting secret ballot representation elections.
Later, I represented management, individuals and unions in my private law practice. I carefully and thoroughly investigated a wide variety of workplace related claims to determine whether they had merit. I was also retained by other lawyers to investigate claims of misconduct or discrimination, with my work forming the basis upon which they gave legal advice to their clients. I have taken hundreds of statements and affidavits and conducted countless depositions.
I have tried cases to juries in federal and state courts and presented hundreds of claims to federal and state judges, magistrates and administrative law judges.
Here Are A Number Of Steps To Take When Responding To Claims Of Workplace Misconduct or Discrimination:
- Begin the investigation as soon as you become aware of the problem. There is no advantage to delay; workplace controversies have a strong tendency to rapidly get worse. They breed rumors and discontent. Deal with them now, not later.
- Have the investigation done by someone who has an in-depth understanding of employment law and how claims involving misconduct or allegations of discrimination are handled by government agencies as well as how they are litigated by private attorneys. A good investigator is comfortable and at ease with people, able to engage with them and create a bond of trust. Also critical is the ability to gather all the facts necessary to develop a coherent, thorough and accurate assessment of the dispute.
- Make clear to all the stakeholders that the investigator is impartial and independent and that his/her task is to help the parties understand the problem, not win a lawsuit. If the investigator is simply gathering facts, that’s one thing; if the investigator is expected to resolve conflicts in testimony and make appropriate recommendations based on those decisions, let everyone know that before he begins. People who believe they are the victims of discrimination or have been wrongfully accused of misconduct are more likely to cooperate and offer candid information if they see the investigator as someone who is independent, interested in the truth and without a hidden agenda or bias. They also see an impartial investigator as an indication of the employer’s good faith in conducting the investigation and sincerity in seeking a fair and reasonable outcome.
My ability to gather evidence, interview witnesses and then make sense of it all is at the heart of my work as a lawyer and an independent investigator. It is experience and skill that I can put to work for you.