During a workplace investigation, the HR investigator failed to tell me to refrain from speaking to any coworkers. At the next investigation meeting, I was told sorry, we (HR) forgot to tell you and then noted that I had spoken to 3 coworkers. Is the evidence still usable?

Answer

First, shame on the HR rep for not having an introductory script or protocol that checks certain boxes, including a caution about retaliation, refraining from talking to anyone else about the investigation (IF that's appropriate in your case), describing the investigation process for you, etc. At least they were honest and acknowledged not telling you this.

Second, it's important to understand precisely why HR would want employees involved in investigations to avoid discussing the matter with coworkers and others. The purpose is to "seal" an investigation rather than complicate it further by bringing more and more people into it through hearsay, risk witness tampering, destruction and fabrication of evidence, collusion, etc. It's a method of resolving the case most efficiently.

Note, however, that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled in 2015 that (nonsupervisory) "employees have a ... right to discuss discipline or ongoing disciplinary investigations involving themselves or co-workers" unless there's a substantial business justification. Thus, I'm not sure whether the issue of confidentiality is appropriate in your case or not. Perhaps some clarifying questions are appropriate, especially since HR forgot to tell you at first. What's their compelling business reason? It cannot be a blanket policy that they require this with all investigations. I hope they have a well thought out rationale specific to your case.

Regarding your question about whether the evidence is still "usable" -- yes. While HR shouldn't punish you for violating confidentiality if they didn't tell you not to talk to coworkers, the workplace is not a courtroom. The warning about confidentiality is not like Miranda rights. There's nothing wrong with the evidence against you unless someone colluded or destroyed evidence. That's a different matter.

Of course, you can always suggest names of coworkers or others as witnesses for an investigation if they have important information to offer. You may also remind the investigator politely that you wouldn't have talked to your coworkers had you known about the requirement for confidentiality.

Updated on June 22, 2018

Original Article:

Employee Complaint Investigations: What Human Resources Won't Tell You
By FlourishAnyway
working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, toughnickel.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://toughnickel.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)