When they are accused of wrongdoing, some employees clearly believe the best defense is an aggressive offense.
For example, it’s fairly common for someone accused of sexual harassment to counter that, in reality, he was the one who was being harassed. Then he gives HR a detailed complaint and a lengthy list of people to interview.
Don’t let this tactic dissuade you. Instead, complete your investigation just as you would any other. You don’t have to interview everyone on the employee’s long list—just enough to make a good-faith decision about what happened.
Remember, it’s your job to make credibility decisions, deciding who is telling the truth and who is not.
Recent case: The University of Arkansas fired Al McCullough after he was investigated for sexual harassment. Two female co-workers had complained about McCullough. The university began an investigation and informed him of the allegations. He responded by claiming it was he who had been harassed—and backed it up with an exhaustive complaint and long list of witnesses.
Investigators interviewed some of the witnesses on McCullough’s list, plus others that the women provided. They concluded that the women were telling the truth, and the university fired McCullough.
He sued, alleging sex discrimination, claiming the investigation was a sham since not all his witnesses were interviewed.
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed his case. It reasoned that all that the employer had to do was conduct a good-faith investigation—which it had—and interview as many people as the investigators thought prudent. (McCullough v. University of Arkansas, No. 08-1353, 8th Cir., 2009)
Final note: Remember, the key is “good faith.” You can be wrong, as long as you honestly believe the employees making the accusations.
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/9195/dont-let-counterclaim-stop-investigation "
- Undocumented workers' best witnesses may be other undocumented workers
- 'Youth movement' comment not enough to sink dealership's case
- Growing threat: Courts uphold broad interpretation of retaliation
- You can be liable for 'Sex-Plus' discrimination, too
- The rules of company blogging: Avoiding employee misuse and abuse