Workplaces operate under laws and guidelines formulated by the federal and state government to protect employees from misconduct by employers. Unfortunately, numerous cases of illegal malpractice and violations of employees’ civil rights occur at the workplace. These include discrimination, wrongful termination, as well as harassment.
When an employee reports the malpractice to a manager or the human resources department, an investigation is then necessary to prove the allegations and facilitate an adequate response to deter future incidents. If you have been the victim of workplace malpractice, discrimination, or harassment, an experienced ethics investigation attorney in Bellevue can help ensure your rights are protected during the subsequent investigation.
What is An Ethics Investigation in the Workplace?
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) prohibits employment discrimination based on protected characteristics like age, race, national origin, disability, and pregnancy. A workplace ethics investigation occurs when an employee reports misconduct or unethical leadership in relation to any of the above. An employer may also conduct an ethics investigation due to policy and confidentiality breaches or theft.
It is the obligation of an employer to perform an ethics investigation upon receipt of employee complaints. The workplace human resources department is usually responsible for investigating with the goal of verifying allegations of employment law violations and identifying current problems in the workplace.
With this information, the employer can solve existing workplace issues, put in place measures to prevent future occurrences, and improve the work environment. If you are the employee who filed the complaint, then you will not need to file a claim if your concerns are addressed following the investigation.
Ethics investigation facilitates conflict resolution and helps create a better work environment for employees, resulting in improved productivity. During the exercise, the investigator offers equal chances to both the complainant and respondent to explain their side of the story and provide witnesses.
A Bellevue ethics investigation lawyer will be able to help you gather as much information as possible about the issue. With adequate details, employment attorneys can help prove your case and establish the existence of liability.
When Should I Consider An Attorney for an Ethics Investigation?
When filing a complaint such as wrongful termination, discrimination, or any other violation of labor laws at your workplace, you will need substantial evidence to prove your allegations.
If you are involved in a workplace investigation, speak to an attorney to help protect your rights and interests. Some of the reasons to consider hiring an employment attorney for an ethics investigation include:
- Privacy. Consider speaking to an attorney if you have reasons to believe that the ethics investigation will violate privacy policies. It also applies if you feel that confidentiality during the process is at risk. Your attorney will provide professional advice and information concerning your privacy rights to prevent issues during searches.
- Fairness. It is not uncommon for employers to hire internal investigators for an ethics investigation in the workplace. However, this brings the risk of impartiality and conflict of interest. Doing so may jeopardize the investigation’s integrity as the investigator may only focus on details that absolve your employer from liability. In this instance, it is necessary to discuss the case with an ethics investigation lawyer to ensure fairness during the process.
- Retaliation. Washington state law protects employees from retaliation for filing a complaint at the workplace, whistleblowing, testifying, or getting involved in an investigation with the EEOC. It also prohibits retaliation for opposing practices that go against discrimination laws. If you feel the risk of retaliation due to your involvement in the investigations, it is advisable to speak to an employment lawyer.
Once your workplace has a plan to start an ethics investigation, you should consult with an employment attorney to get a full understanding of your rights and obligations. A lawyer will help you avoid mistakes that could jeopardize your case and offer sound legal advice based on an in-depth understanding of Washington state laws.
Contact Our Workplace Ethics Investigation Lawyers for a Consultation
When your employment legal issue evolves into a full workplace ethics investigation, a lawyer from HKM Employment Attorneys of Bellevue is here to help. Our legal professionals have the skill and competence to handle ethics investigations for our clients in Washington. It all starts with a free consultation where we can assess your needs. Then we act as your advocate throughout the course of the investigation, ensuring your best interests are met.
With offices in Bellevue, Seattle, and nationally, our law firm offers services in a variety of employee-related practice areas. All of our attorneys specialize in employment law, so you gain access to expertise and knowledge from years of experience in the field. For the best in legal representation during your workplace investigation, give us a call today and we’ll be happy to meet with you.