Category: Investigations

It ain’t Over ’til it’s Over (and Even Then, it Might not Be Over): How long can the EEOC Continue Investigating – after Issuing a Right-to-Sue Letter?

It ain’t Over ’til it’s Over (and Even Then, it Might not Be Over): How long can the EEOC Continue Investigating – after Issuing a Right-to-Sue Letter?

EEOC charges are a fact of life for employers.  Even with comprehensive equal employment policies, top-notch human resources personnel, and a great workplace culture, many employers will at some point encounter a charge of discrimination or retaliation.  While any charge is an unwelcome event, the stakes increase even further if the EEOC decides to take the employer to court.  The...

OSHA Weighs in on Retaliation and Drug Testing

OSHA Weighs in on Retaliation and Drug Testing

QUESTION: We conduct drug testing whenever an employee is injured at work or in involved in an accident. I recently read that this may violate OSHA’s anti-retaliation rule. How can that be? I would think OSHA would want employers to drug test to keep workplaces drug-free and safe.

Quirky Question  #285: Potholes on the Ethical “High Road”

Quirky Question #285: Potholes on the Ethical “High Road”

Question:  We learned that some of our employees may have been engaging in unethical, and perhaps even illegal, behavior.  We don’t tolerate this, so we hired a law firm to conduct an investigation, and based on the results of that investigation, we terminated the employees.  The terminated employees were high-profile employees, and we told some people why they were fired. ...

“Cat’s Paw Theory Endorsed by U.S. Supreme Court” — Staub v. Proctor Hospital

“Cat’s Paw Theory Endorsed by U.S. Supreme Court” — Staub v. Proctor Hospital

On March 1, 2011, the Supreme Court decided the case of Staub v. Proctor Hospital, No. 09-400.  The decision was unanimous (8-0), with Justice Scalia writing the Court’s opinion, Justice Alito writing a concurrence in which Justice Thomas joined, and Justice Kagan taking no part in the case.  The Court overturned the Seventh Circuit, holding that a reasonable jury could...

Witnesses at Investigative Interviews, Quirky Question # 84

Witnesses at Investigative Interviews, Quirky Question # 84

Quirky Question # 84: We periodically have to investigate alleged wrongful conduct by our employees.  Some of these employees want to bring another person with them to the investigative interview.  Over the years, I’ve received conflicting reports about whether we have to allow this practice, or not.  One employee who was insisting on having someone with her during the investigation...

Quirky Question # 42, Investigation Inquiries

Quirky Question # 42, Investigation Inquiries

Quirky Question # 42: This week I’ve decided to take a slightly different approach to my Quirky Question Blog.  I recently presented a Continuing Legal Education seminar on Workplace Investigations, at the end of which I received a number of thoughtful questions from the audience.  Although these questions are not particularly quirky, I thought they were worth addressing.  The following...

Unethical Conduct By Employee, Quirky Question # 41

Unethical Conduct By Employee, Quirky Question # 41

Quirky Question # 41: I am the Director of Human Resources for a manufacturing firm.  I was recently contacted by the manager of a motel located near our office.  The manager informed me that one of our employees (an outside salesperson) has been stopping at the motel in the morning, picking up one of the “free” newspapers, eating the “free”...

Employee Cooperation in Investigations, Quirky Question # 9

Employee Cooperation in Investigations, Quirky Question # 9

Quirky Question # 9: Two of our employees are involved in a romantic relationship.  We recently learned that our male employee assaulted our female employee at her apartment.  He was charged with domestic assault based on her report and convicted. We then tried to elicit information from our female employee about whether she felt her paramour posed a risk of...