Join me in a discussion on the increasingly nuanced landscape of employee workplace investigations and best practices in managing their effect on corporate brand, attorney-client privilege and obligations to applicable governmental entities.
The current wave of public disclosure of workplace misconduct highlights the intersection of legal compliance and employee relations. As more #MeToo complaints are disclosed, having the tools to conduct a discrete and informed investigation is essential. Clear and detailed policies are important, but the practices behind the enforcement of these policies may be the difference in a court finding that an investigation was not conducted to obtain information relevant to an allegation, but solely to protect the company.
This discussion will address who should take the lead on these investigations and when and how they should be conducted. While recent cases have raised concern on the status of attorney-client privilege in workplace investigations, best practices should still maintain efforts to observe the necessary steps to assert the privilege and protect communications with counsel during the investigation.
In this new age of social media, an employer’s nightmare may consist of misconduct by its senior executive or the company’s top performer. What should employers do if an incident such as sexual assault or domestic violence occurs to one of its most highly visible employees, perhaps even off-site? (Here’s a teaser where we commented to SHRM on this scenario with sports teams, one of the most publicly visible type of employers.) How should the real prospect of litigation or pending action by a government agency affect the nature of the investigation? These issues and others will be addressed in a lively dialogue.
This discussion will precede a presentation by Kevin Berry, District Director of the EEOC’s New York District Office, regarding findings from the EEOC’s sexual harassment task force and the EEOC’s strategic plan moving forward, and a panel discussion on sexual harassment in the workplace.