If you feel you’ve been treated unfairly as an employee or are a victim of employment discrimination, your employer is obligated to do an ethics investigation based on your specific complaint. There are many employment laws protecting an employee’s rights to a safe and ethical workplace.
What is an ethics investigation in the workplace?
A legal ethics workplace investigation is required by law if an employee files an official complaint with their employer. Whether the employee feels that rules of professional conduct have been broken or the misconduct is more severe, such as employment discrimination, sexual harassment, workplace violence, the employer has a professional responsibility to investigate these claims.
For some legal ethics violations, the investigation process can be challenging.
Indiana Civil Rights legislation prohibits an employer from discriminating against any employee or job applicant who has certain characteristics protected by law. Protected characteristics include those covered by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission EEOC:
- National origin
- Religious affiliation
- Genetic information
Conducting internal investigations in the area of employment discrimination requires attention to detail. The investigator must find out if the employer practice discrimination through their employment policies. Areas of investigation include, but are not limited to, policies involving:
- Hiring and firing
- Recruitment and on-the-job training
- Delegating assignments and duties
- Compensation: pay grade, raises, bonuses
- Health benefits, retirement, and other fringe benefits
- Vacation, sick time, or disability leave
- Policies on promotions and transfers
Sexual harassment is, sadly, the most common form of harassment in the United States and must be investigated thoroughly. Also, an ethics investigation should begin immediately after a complaint of harassment based on any of the protected characteristics discussed above.
From the CEO and the board of directors to the first-year manager, unethical leadership occurs and can lead to a toxic workplace atmosphere. Employees affected by this unethical leadership are often fearful of retaliation, especially when a criminal law has been violated and the employee cooperates with law enforcement.
When should I consider an attorney for an ethics investigation?
When a complaint of misconduct is filed, employers must launch an internal investigation. Such investigations are often the responsibility of the human resource department. Smaller businesses may task a manager with the investigation who typically hasn’t received proper investigation training.
If you have reason to believe an investigation won’t be carried out in good faith, consider outside counsel. Protect yourself if you have concerns that an internal investigation won’t:
- Protect your identity and confidential information
- Complete the investigation impartially with no issues of conflict of interest
- Prevent retaliation
- Secure unbiased testimonials
- Complete the investigation in a timely manner (some courts have time limitations)
Our Indianapolis Ethics Investigators Are Here to Help
Our law firm has over 40 years of experience, completing ethics investigations with successful outcomes. Our employment attorneys will earn your trust, build a strong attorney-client relationship, and guarantee the most thorough and fair investigation.
Don’t leave your future in the hands of any attorney. Contact the Indianapolis HKM Employment Attorneys for legal advice or to schedule a consultation.