Tag archives: investigation

Conducting Workplace Investigations… in a Pandemic

This year has created innumerable challenges for employers— including the challenge of how to effectively conduct a workplace investigation when health and safety protocols demand a certain degree of separation. Fortunately, the same Do’s and Don’ts still apply to employers, whether they are conducting an investigation two meters apart or virtually through Zoom.

  • Don’t (inexcusably) delay: Memories fade over time and adjudicators may interpret delay as a sign that the conduct is insignificant or that the conduct is condoned. This does not mean that investigations need to be rushed, however— on the contrary, hasty investigations can be equally fatal.  Best
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Investigation did not constitute adverse action

The Federal Circuit Court has ruled a senior executive who was investigated, following anonymous allegations of misconduct was not the victim of unlawful adverse action, finding that among other things, the investigation itself was not “adverse” and that other action taken by the employer was not taken for a prohibited reason as alleged.

What does this mean for employers?

Any disciplinary action which the employer proposes to take against the employee needs to be based on strong, direct evidence of relevant misconduct, which needs to come from the decision-maker in order to displace the assumption that the adverse action was … Continue Reading

Harassment complaint in the workplace and internal investigations: Does procedural fairness apply?

In a recent case, the Quebec Court of Appeal overturned a Court of Quebec judgment and found that procedural fairness standards applicable to administrative law are not applicable to internal investigations into complaints of psychological harassment in the workplace.


The appellant was a college professor who was dismissed for psychological harassment of some of his colleagues. The respondent was selected to investigate two complaints of psychological harassment filed on behalf of two colleagues against the appellant, in accordance with the employer’s psychological harassment policy. Following her investigation, she found the complaints were substantiated.

The appellant took action against … Continue Reading

Positive Investigation Methodology (PIM)

If traditional accident causation theory was truly sufficient for preventing incidents, wouldn’t we have learnt the lessons by now?

When we look at incident investigation reports, we see the same lessons being learnt time and time again. Those who investigate incidents will no doubt be familiar with the drawbacks associated with traditional investigation techniques.

With the benefit of hindsight, we can see the trajectory of the incident all too clearly. But how obvious were the lessons along the way in real time? With such an approach to incident investigation, there is always an element of revisionism at play.

It’s time … Continue Reading