The Importance of Workplace Investigation Documentation

Workplace investigations can be a tough prospect, but are a necessary part of maintaining a safe and trouble-free work environment for all employees. Sometimes, an employee crosses the line. If companies had the ability to hire people who left their personal problems at home, were drug-free, didn’t harass others, remained loyal and honest, then there would be no need for workplace investigations. However, that isn’t the reality of things. No matter the reason for the incident, employers must investigate why it happened and then distribute discipline as deemed fit – to protect the business and other employees. 

What Needs to be Recorded

From an HR management standpoint, documenting everything that occurs during workplace investigations is vitally important to companies in the event that the issue moves towards legal action. Whenever an employee has to be reprimanded, disciplined, takes part in an incident or a complaint is filed; all of the pertinent information should be recorded and then placed in a private employee file.

The information that should be recorded includes the following:

  • Memos and letters sent to employees
  • A written summary of the date, time, place and people involved in an incident
  • Any work documents involved
  • Notes from meetings
  • Witness statements
  • Investigation interviews
  • Performance evaluations
  • Disciplinary actions of any kind, including termination

Benefits of Documenting Workplace Investigations

Aside from preparing for a legal battle with a current or former employee, there are plenty of other benefits to documenting workplace investigations. Some of those benefits include the following:

  • Easier to recall what happened if complaint is filed well after an incident occurred
  • Reduce amount of incorrect information discussed in a case
  • Possibility to save time and money on a lawsuit
  • Ability to protect employees and/or the company from invalid complaints

HR Record Keeping Software

Companies can make it easier to document issues and incidents that occur at the office by using HR record keeping software. The software is easy to install and use, which makes the process of documenting these issues even easier. The software will prompt you for a host of information that must be entered in order to save the document. You will need to provide the date, time and location of the incident as well as the names of those involved. If you have any additional information, such as witness statements, you can include them as well. This software makes it easy to go back and review an incident years later in the event that a lawsuit or complaint is lodged against the company.

As you can see, documenting workplace investigations is very important. Companies can save thousands of dollars by avoiding frivolous lawsuits when they properly document incidents. 

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AUTHOR BIO: Tess C. Taylor, PHR, CPC, SHRM-CP; Founder of HR Knows and The HR Writer, is a seasoned human resources content developer and career coaching professional in New York. She is passionate about educating others about human resource topics and policies, and has been featured on About.com (Employee Benefits), BlogHer, Career Addict, Glass Ceiling, HR Magazine, PayScale Compensation Today, and US News Careers, among others. She has also been voted as a “Top 100 HR Expert to Follow on Twitter” by peers. Follow Tess on Twitter 

Author: Tess C. Taylor, CPC, PHR, SHRM-CP

Tess C. Taylor, PHR, CPC, SHRM-CP; Founder of HR Knows and The HR Writer, is a seasoned human resources content developer and career coaching professional in New York. She is passionate about educating others about human resource topics and policies, and has been featured on About.com (Employee Benefits), BlogHer, Career Addict, Glass Ceiling, HR Magazine, PayScale Compensation Today, and US News Careers, among others.

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