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How to Conduct a Disciplinary Investigation

When confronted with a disciplinary issue that merits further investigation, employers should take adequate steps to ensure the proper enforcement of workplace rules, and avoid exposure to greater liability from outside enforcement actions or employee legal claims.

Determining the scope of the investigation depends on the subject matter of the violation. Employers should decide what type of investigation is appropriate under the circumstances. Certain disciplinary issues do not need extensive investigation, such as an allegation that an employee arrived an hour late for work. An investigation related to falsifying time records may be limited to speaking to the alleged wrongdoer, a supervisor and a payroll representative. Other investigations, such as a workplace violence investigation, may require multiple witness interviews, additional security measures and outside law enforcement assistance. Harassment investigations may include supervisors, HR, counsel, compliance department representatives and various witnesses.