Top 4 Do's and Don'ts of Workplace Investigations

Posted By: Guardian HR Staff Posted On: June 7, 2024 Share:
HR Form of the Week Header 20

Fair and transparent workplace investigations are crucial for maintaining trust, integrity, and a positive organizational culture.  Moreover, properly conducted investigations can mitigate legal risks, prevent conflicts from escalating, and ultimately contribute to a healthier, more productive work environment where employees feel valued and respected. Let's unpack the four major do's and don'ts that can significantly impact the outcome of your investigations.

1. DON'T Conduct Interviews Alone

One of the cardinal rules of conducting workplace investigations is to never go it alone during interviews. It's crucial to have another independent, objective management-level person present. Why is this so important? Well, when you're faced with the task of interviewing the parties involved in a workplace complaint or witnesses, having a neutral third party can be invaluable. Not only does it provide an additional layer of objectivity, but it also helps safeguard against any potential claims of bias or misrepresentation. Having an impartial witness ensures that the proceedings are conducted fairly and transparently, which is essential for maintaining the integrity of the investigation.

2. DO Get Handwritten Statements

Written statements play a pivotal role in any workplace investigation. To ensure authenticity and reliability, it's best practice to have everyone involved, including complainants, respondents, and witnesses, handwrite their statements. This not only helps in establishing the credibility of the statements but also ensures a clear chain of custody, which can be crucial in future proceedings. Handwritten statements provide tangible evidence of the individuals' accounts, making it harder to dispute their validity or accuracy down the line.

3. DON'T Lead the Witness

Leading a witness during an investigation can compromise its integrity and validity. It's essential to refrain from putting words into their mouths or guiding their responses. Instead, allow them to speak freely and convey their perspective without influence. Genuine recollections and knowledge are what you're aiming for, not guided or coerced responses. By avoiding leading questions, you ensure that the information gathered is unbiased and reflective of the individual's true experiences or observations.

4. DO Promptly Investigate Complaints

Procrastination has no place in workplace investigations. Addressing complaints promptly, efficiently, and thoroughly is key. Delaying investigations or sweeping issues under the rug only exacerbates the problem and can lead to further complications down the line. Prompt action not only demonstrates a commitment to resolving issues but also helps prevent escalation and potential legal ramifications.


By following these best practices, you can navigate workplace investigations with confidence, integrity, and effectiveness. Let's ensure your workplace investigations are handled effectively and professionally, safeguarding your organization and employees alike. At Guardian HR, we're here to support you every step of the way, ensuring compliance and minimizing legal risks. Don't hesitate to reach out to us for guidance and support.

Stay proactive, stay compliant, and stay out of court.

Subscribe to Our Channel

Stay up-to-date on everything HR and Employment Law!

If you wish to become a client of GHR and get access to all our great resources, including your own HR Manager and our team of employment attorneys, please contact us at or call us at 888.373.4724.

Guardian HR Staff

Guardian HR Staff

In-House Writing Team

Read informative articles, insights, and other resources right from the experts on the Guardian HR team.