Handling Allegations of Misconduct
An Organization is obligated to address a complaint or report of misconduct and act upon it immediately. The Organization must initially decide whether the complaint or report should be investigated. The failure of an Organization to investigate a report of a staff member’s misconduct may result in serious consequences. An allegation may require the Organization to take immediate action to separate the staff members or place a manager on administrative leave.
If the Organization decides not to investigate the reason for the decision needs to be documented for the record.
How an Organization investigates allegations of misconduct can affect its’ reputation. When a staff member or manager reports allegations of misconduct, the Organization should conduct a workplace investigation to exclude the possibility that a wrong-doing has actually occurred.
An effective investigation protects the interests of the Organization to ensure compliance with Regulations and Rules. An investigation will determine the facts as to what happened in a particular incident, whether misconduct actually occurred, who was involved, and whether there was a violation of organization policies. The investigation of the alleged misconduct must be independent, impartial, and prompt.
The Organization takes immediate action when an allegation of misconduct has been submitted to management. The Organization informs the staff member or manager that the allegation of misconduct has been received and that it will address the allegation. The Organization must investigate the allegation either with a preliminary or full investigation.
Upon full examination of the allegations, the Organization must decide whether or not misconduct occurred and the consequences. A decision must be made promptly as it is in the best interests of the staff member and the Organization to resolve the allegations. Then management needs to review the situation which generated the complaint. A legitimate complaint can indicate that an organizational problem exists in the workplace and may need to be addressed.
As a word of caution, management should be advised not to take any action against the staff member who has made allegations of misconduct which could be perceived as retaliation. A staff member should not be terminated, disciplined, or threatened for filing a report of an allegation of misconduct during the investigation process.