When Do You Need A Workplace Investigation

What are Workplace Investigations?

Under California law, when allegations arise about possible workplace harassment or discrimination, California employers have obligations to take steps in good faith to determine the facts of a situation. This is the purpose of a workplace investigation – it is a process where the investigator seeks to find out what happened.

When does an employer need to conduct a workplace investigation?

A workplace investigation is needed when an allegation of workplace misconduct arises and the employer needs to determine what happened in order to follow through on its legal obligations. Common employee allegations that could give rise to an obligation to investigate are:

  • A hostile work environment
  • Discrimination or harassment
  • Workplace bullying or abuse
  • Theft of property company
  • Fraud
  • Violation of company policy

What are the benefits of hiring an external investigator?

Under California law, three types of people are permitted to conduct workplace investigations – a qualified employee of the company, a qualified licensed attorney, or a qualified licensed private investigator. The benefits of hiring someone outside the company are preserving neutrality, cutting down on possible conflicts of interest or bias which can interfere with the process, and making sure that the person doing the investigation knows the applicable legal standards that apply. Emerzian Shankar Legal Inc. routinely conducts workplace and school investigations – we can help.

Our HR Team

Ashley Emerzian, Esq.

Ms. Emerzian seeks to learn about her business client’s objectives and aligns transactional and advisory legal services with desired results. She regularly advises such clients regarding compliance with state and federal employment laws and consults regarding business and employment contracts, and policies and procedures.

Inna Shankar, Esq.

Ms. Shankar has substantial experience advising on California and federal employment laws, including employee classifications, independent contractor analysis, discrimination, harassment, and wage and hour.

Brittany Contreras, Esq., SHRM-CP

For the firm’s private and non-profit sector clients, Ms. Contreras provides transactional and advisory services on HR law compliance.

Xochilt Valero, SHRM-CP

Ms. Valero provides paralegal support to the firm’s attorneys, including case management, legal research, collecting and compiling information needed for such analysis from clients and other fact-gathering, drafting of documents, and preparation of investigation report exhibits.

Brianna Jakosa

With over fifteen years of HR experience, Ms. Jakosa has a broad range of HR skills functions and has previously served as a director of human resources responsible for managing all of the company’s HR compliance. Ms. Jakosa assists the firm’s clients with day-to-day HR matters such as wage/hour and payroll questions, terminations, recruitment, diversity & inclusion efforts, and leaves of absence.

Sarah Hutchinson

Ms. Hutchinson brings her vast experience in human resources functions and non-profit sector operations. She has experience successfully handling challenging and complex staffing issues, including matters requiring investigation. Ms. Hutchinson supports the firm’s HR consulting work by assisting clients with direct HR support including for onboarding, termination, disability interactives, and other outsourced HR duties.