Windsor-Essex County Employment Lawyers Assisting with Workplace Investigations
Workplace investigations are a critical component of maintaining a productive, efficient workplace. Done correctly, workplace investigations ensure employees’ concerns are handled in a discreet, effective manner and prevents problems from escalating. However, substandard workplace investigations can create substantial legal risks for employers and expose them to financial and operational liability.
Willis Business Law offers exceptional advice regarding workplace investigations as part of its comprehensive services for Ontario businesses. The firm’s talented employment lawyers also provide in-house training and assistance in drafting workplace policies designed to maximize efficiency and mitigate the employer’s risk.
Common Types of Workplace Investigations in Ontario
Workplace investigations are a common way to review, address, and resolve workplace incidents or employee complaints. They are also essential for employers to demonstrate their commitment to upholding employment standards and fairness through swift, decisive action. Below are some matters commonly addressed through workplace investigations.
Under the Human Rights Code of Ontario, employers must accommodate the needs of employees who have a disability recognized by the Code. Employers must accommodate the employee’s disability to the point of undue hardship.
The Code sets out three considerations in a workplace investigation when determining whether an accommodation would cause undue hardship to the employer: cost, outside funding sources, and health and safety requirements. Inconvenience to the employer’s business, impacts on employee morale, and customer preferences are not factors that are considered when investigating whether an accommodation has been made to the point of undue hardship.
Human Rights Complaints
Workplace investigations involve a review of an employee’s complaint that their human rights, protected by the Human Rights Code, have been violated. Most human rights complaints are based on allegations of discrimination or harassment of a protected ground under the Code (for example, age, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, family status, etc.). A thorough investigation can help uncover systemic discrimination or human rights issues and identify remedial action to be taken by the employer to avoid further incidents and complaints.
Workplace Bullying & Cyberbullying (Harassment)
The Occupational Health and Safety Act of Ontario (OSHA) requires employers to have a written policy addressing workplace harassment. Bullying and cyberbullying (using digital technologies such as computers, smartphones, or other connected devices to engage in bullying behaviour) are forms of harassment. Under the OSHA, employers must have procedures for investigating and addressing incidents and complaints of harassment in the workplace.
Benefits of Professional Workplace Investigation Services
The consequences of a hastily or incomplete workplace investigation can include reduced productivity, employee turnover, and substantial legal and financial risk to the employer. Engaging a lawyer experienced in workplace investigations provides numerous benefits to the employer, including:
- Ensuring all relevant evidence is collected and preserved through the preparation of a detailed investigation strategy;
- Avoiding allegations of bias by having an impartial, outside party assist with or conduct the investigation;
- A comprehensive review of the facts in light of all applicable laws, policies, and rules;
- Preservation of all parties’ privacy and confidentiality;
- Practical recommendations to remedy issues, whether systemic or more limited in nature;
- The use of procedurally, substantively, and fundamentally fair investigative methods that reduce the risk of an investigation being overturned upon review by a court or administrative tribunal;
- Ensuring all findings and actions taken are supported by a thorough review of all evidence, reducing the risk of the employer being found liable for wrongful dismissal or other employment law breaches; and
- Post-investigation assistance and follow-up, including disciplinary advice, policy creation, or employee training.
Ensuring a Safe, Healthy, and Productive Workplace Through Effective Workplace Investigations
The skilled employment law group at Willis Business Law understands a workplace investigation’s critical role in maintaining a healthy, efficient work environment. The firm provides trusted advice at any stage of the process, including creating proactive, forward-thinking policies and procedures before any problem arises. Willis Business Law conducts robust investigations and can withstand judicial scrutiny if a complaint proceeds to litigation.
Contact Willis Business Law in Windsor for Top-Tier Workplace Investigations
Willis Business Law has built lasting relationships with clients throughout Windsor-Essex County by providing comprehensive employment law advice and pragmatic legal solutions. The firm’s wealth of knowledge regarding employment law considerations impacting Ontario businesses empowers it to help clients achieve an unmatched level of efficiency and productivity.
Willis Business Law is located in the heart of Windsor’s financial district, overlooking the beautiful riverfront. The firm provides accessible, dynamic service to clients throughout Amherstburg, Essex, Kingsville, Lakeshore, LaSalle, Leamington, Pelee Island, Tecumseh, Chatham-Kent, and Sarnia. To speak with a knowledgeable employment lawyer or schedule a confidential consultation, please call 519-945-5470 or contact us online.