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I will be speaking on “Public Sector Investigations” on June 4, 2013 (9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.) Location:  Weintraub Tobin ♦ 400 Capitol Mall 11th Floor ♦ Sacramento CACo-Presenters:  Kelli Kennaday and Donna Peter 3 hours HRCI & California MCLE Credit Pending Investigating allegations of misconduct by public sector employees involves both procedural and substantive issues not present in other types of investigations. In this half-day seminar, two experienced public sector investigators and an experienced…
I am once again offering training to human resources professionals, attorneys, and private investigators on how to conduct legally defensible harassment, discrimination, and retaliation investigations in the workplace.  Although the training will be geared towards these professions, attendees of any background are welcome to attend.  Basic knowledge of sexual harassment and discrimination law is helpful, but not required. Questions and problematic scenarios are welcomed! Date: Thursday, November 15, 2012 Time:  11:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.…
Harassment and discrimination investigations in California should be conducted by the employer whenever the alleged victim contends that the wrongful conduct was motivated (at least in part) by the alleged victim being a member of any of the following classes: Age (40 and over); Ancestry; Color; Religious Creed; Denial of Family and Medical Care Leave; Disability (mental and physical) including HIV-positive and AIDS; Marital Status; Medical Condition (cancer and genetic characteristics); Genetic information; National Origin;…
Many reasons exist to conduct an internal investigation of an employee complaint of unlawful conduct (or violation of employer’s policy). To name a few: Employers may need to comply with a particular law compelling an investigation. Employer may need to comply with its own policies stating that an investigation will be conducted under the circumstances identified in the complaint. Employer wants to improve the morale of its employees by showing that complaints are taken seriously…
The federal Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“SOX”) was enacted in response to a number of major corporate and accounting scandals including those affecting Enron, Tyco International, Adelphia, Peregrine Systems, and WorldCom.  The Act’s “Whistleblower Protection for Employees of Publicly Traded Companies” provision protects whistleblower employees of publicly traded companies.  It provides that no publicly traded company, including officers, employees, contractors, subcontractors, or agents of the company, may “discharge, demote, suspend, threaten, harass, or…
investigations should be conducted in cases where no one formally complains yet the employer has learned of a claim of wrongdoing via an anonymous tip, citizen complaint, rumor, hearsay, or third-party employee complaining on behalf of the victim. An employer can be charged with constructive notice of the alleged wrongdoing, even if no one complains of the conduct, when the conduct is so pervasive that the employer should have known of it. An employer should…
In deciding whether an employee complaint rises to the level of alleged illegal activity or company policy violations, employers should interpret the incoming complaint very broadly and err on the conservative side by investigating anything that comes remotely close to illegal activity or company policy violations—especially if the allegations are against a supervisor (due to the employer’s risk of strict liability). What may seem initially to be an innocuous or petty complaint—which perhaps does not…
Some types of employee complaints must be investigated as a matter of law, e.g., sexual harassment complaints.  Although no statutes regulate how investigations must be conducted, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) (Cal. Gov’t Code §§12900–12996) requires an employer to take “immediate and appropriate corrective action” when faced with a covered harassment complaint (see Cal. Gov’t Code §12940), and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states: When an employer…
Because I have received many requests to provide internal training to employees on how to conduct sexual harassment investigations, I will be offering open training on the subject to anyone interested, but the training will be geared towards Human Resources Professionals, Private Investigators, and Attorneys.  Attendees of any background are welcome to attend, but some basic knowledge of sexual harassment law is helpful.  If time is allowed, other types of investigative training will be covered.…
California Association of Workplace Investigators (CAOWI) members have just voted to change CAOWI’s name to the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI).   AWI will now begin working to expand its membership to workplace investigators in any geographic location in the country–or world, for that matter.  We greatly look forward to new associations with out-of-state investigators.…