Allegations of bullying and harassment, human rights violations, or non-compliance with the Workers Compensation Act and its regulations, policies, and guidelines trigger the obligation on an employer to investigate.

The investigation should be fair, proportionate, and completely address the issues raised by the complaint. Employers who fail to conduct proper investigations carry the risk of potential liability in punitive damages, human rights complaints, and civil actions.

An investigation that is fair and complete will arm the employer with the information it needs to make a decisive and proportionate action. This may also minimize negative consequences.

Arghandewal Law offers paperless and efficient investigations. Interviews are conducted via video-conference for the most part. Arghandewal Law will conduct workplace investigations across BC.


  1. Impartial Fact Finding

    Investigators are not biased and base findings on evidence and their assessments of credibility. The investigator will review complaints of misconduct and then work with the employer to schedule individuals to interview. The employee accused of misconduct will likely be interviewed last so that they can respond fully.
  2. Report

    The length of the report and time needed to conduct the investigation will vary according to the issues being investigated and availability of the witnesses. At the conclusion of an investigation, a report will be provided and findings will be explained to ensure fairness and transparency.

Here are some frequently asked questions about workplace investigations:

1. When Should an Employer Undertake a Workplace Investigation?

Anytime a complaint is made which is serious or complex. Employers may wish to undertake workplace investigations when they cannot conduct an impartial internal investigation – e.g. the workplace consists of a small team. Of course, this is not always clear and employers should seek advice if they are unsure.

Some helpful tips:

  • complaints of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace must be investigated promptly;
  • evidence of misconduct, such as inappropriate computer usage or drug paraphernalia in the workplace, should be documented;
  • employers should remain impartial to the parties.

By taking prompt and thorough action in these situations, employers can help to ensure a safe and productive workplace for all.

2. Who Should Conduct the Investigation?

Ideally, the investigation should be conducted by someone who is impartial and objective. This person could be an Human Resources professional, an external consultant, or a third party workplace investigator.

3. Is it Necessary to Hire a Third-Party Investigator?

When an employer receives a complaint from an employee, they have a few options for how to proceed. They can investigate the matter themselves, or they can hire an outside investigator. There are pros and cons to both approaches.

The advantages of bringing a third party investigator to handle the investigation:

  • an experienced investigator will likely be more objective than someone who is familiar with the company and parties;
  • aexperienced investigators will likely be able to more effective at gathering evidence and analyzing the evidence.

In many cases, the benefits of an impartial third-party investigation outweigh the cost and time considerations. But again, it will depend on the severity of the complaint and how complex the investigation may end up being. If employer’s are unsure, they can engage an investigator for the purposes of providing a consultation of their options.

4. What is the scope of the investigation?

The scope of the investigation will depend on the nature of the complaint. It may be necessary to interview witnesses, review documents, and/or collect other evidence. The goal is to gather enough information to make a determination about what happened and what and whether any action is warranted.

5. How Long Will the Investigation Take?

This will depend on the scope of the investigation, number of interviews, and seriousness of misconduct.

6. What Happens If an Employer Finds an Employee Guilty of Misconduct?

If misconduct is substantiated, the investigator can provide options to the employer for next steps to address the findings.

However, more serious offenses can result in termination of employment. Misconduct is a broad term that can encompass a wide range of behaviors, from sleeping on the job to theft or violence.

Regardless of the outcome, it is important for employers to ensure that their investigations are fair and unbiased. Otherwise, they expose themselves to potential claims of flawed investigations.

7. Why You Should Consider Hiring an Employment Lawyer for Workplace Investigations?

Allegations of misconduct in the workplace can be a nightmare for any employer. Not only do you have to deal with the potentially disruptive effects of an investigation, but you also need to navigate a complex web of facts, laws, and regulations.

Examples of complaints we will investigate include:

  • Abuse of authority
  • Bullying and harassment
  • Sexual harassment
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Discrimination
  • Employee serious misconduct
  • Employer policy breaches
  • Financial impropriety
  • Statutory violations
  • Toxic work environment

We are prepared to handle a variety of issues that may come up in the investigation including:

  • Anonymous complaints in workplace
  • Complainants who change their account
  • Complaints based on circumstantial evidence
  • Complaints from multiple parties
  • Complaints without third-party witnesses
  • Conflicting evidence
  • Historical allegations
  • Public complaints
  • Rumours in the workplace

Employment lawyers specialize in these kinds of cases and can help you avoid making costly mistakes. For example, they are skilled at providing neutral, fair, and skilled investigative services for complex complaints including sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying. Zoe Arghandewal is an experienced lawyer solely focused on resolving workplace conflicts. She is committed to ensuring workplaces maintain respectful and positive cultures and to providing reliable, efficient and fair investigation services.

Should you have any further questions regarding the investigation process or if you are seeking an independent investigator or assistance from our employment lawyers, please consider speaking to Arghandewal Law about your legal options.