Receiving a complaint from an employee, member of the public, student or customer can be unexpected and often frustrating; however, they are incredibly common. Our approach to complaint management is to handle the complaint in a way that de-escalates the situation whenever possible. In some cases, complaints will need to be investigated to ensure compliance with the law and to protect the company or school. We are experienced at advising clients on which matters should be investigated, and options available for when an investigation is necessary. We advise on a wide variety of different types of allegations, including, but not limited to, sexual harassment allegations, Title IX school complaints, complaints about curriculum or physical conditions, or complaints against an employee or a supervisor.
Under California law, there are generally three types of individuals who can provide investigation services lawfully: a trained employee of the company or school, an attorney, or a licensed private investigator. While there are some other statutory exceptions, most usually will not apply to California workplace or school investigation. All three options have risks and benefits that should be considered before engaging in an investigation of a complaint. We work with our clients to choose the best option for their company or school.
For employers either in the private sector or at schools that wish to receive appropriate training to enable them to conduct an investigation directly, we are experienced at providing the necessary training and ongoing support throughout the investigation process. We also provide seasoned assistance with preparing documents related to the investigation, including investigation reports, to ensure the investigation is thorough, fair and compliant with law and the organization’s policies.
For private, non-profit or school employers that wish for our attorneys to directly investigate complaints, we can handle the investigation from start to finish. This includes preparing witness lists, interviewing the complainant, interviewing the accused and witnesses, review of relevant documents, and preparation of witness statements and/or final reports to the employer or school. In these cases, we will work closely with a designated manager or school administrator during the investigation.
For employers or schools that prefer to hire a private investigator, we have long-standing relationships with many local and non-local investigator options. We can retain the private investigator on your behalf, thereby bringing it under the protection of applicable attorney-client privileges and bringing a heightened level of confidentiality to the process.
Following an investigation, we provide options regarding what actions to take based on an investigation, if any. This may include employee discipline or termination, as well as responding in writing to the complainant.