Workplace Investigations

Man looking at legal forms through a magnifying glass

Are You Being Investigated?

In small companies, usually the owner investigates a reported incident or problem in the workplace. In medium or large-sized companies, either Human Resources or an outside third party will usually handle the investigation.

In many cases, if you are the employee being investigated for something, human resources or the investigator will have a meeting with you, tell you there has been a complaint or incident of some kind, and ask you some questions. They will then often put you on a paid suspension while they investigate, and a typical period for this could be anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks. The investigation will often involve checking the information you provided the investigator against any documents they have and what other people they interview have to say about it.

Understand Your Rights

At some point in an investigation at work, you may be asked to clarify some answers you had given before, or to respond to things others have said.

When an employee is put on leave pending a workplace investigation, quite often the next thing the employee will hear is that their employment is being terminated, in some cases for just cause.

The lawyers at Bow River Law LLP are knowledgeable, skilled and experienced in Alberta workplace investigation law.  If you are an employee being investigated in Calgary or anywhere else in Alberta, our lawyers can help you understand your legal rights and help you to take the right steps to protect or improve your legal position.

Cautionary Notes

  • If you are an employee in Alberta who is being investigated  at work, get legal advice as soon as you can.  Our lawyers have the skill and experience to provide you with whatever workplace investigation services you may need
  • If you are an Alberta employer, it is prudent to secure legal representation from an employment lawyer before you are in the position of having to do an investigation, so you have a better ability to handle it before it happens.  This can be handled in part by getting proper employment policies drafted.  Our law firm has the skill and experience to help you prepare for workplace investigations both before the need arises and once it has arisen.

Workplace Investigations FAQ

  • What should I do if human resources says there is a workplace complaint against me?

    If you have a workplace complaint against you, you are required to cooperate with the investigation, but you still have rights. Speak with an employment lawyer to guide you through the process.

  • Is my manager allowed to ask me questions about my sex life?

    Your manager is not generally allowed to ask you questions about your sex life, and if this is happening you may have a valid legal complaint such as harassment, constructive dismissal, or a human rights complaint. However, there are exceptions to this rule so if your manager is asking you these kinds of personal questions you should consult a lawyer right away.

  • What should I do if Human resources has suspended me pending the outcome of an investigation?

    If human resources has suspended you pending the outcome of an investigation, your employment may be at risk of being terminated and you may have a claim for unpaid wages or constructive dismissal. You should contact a lawyer immediately.

  • Can I suspend an employee without pay?

    Employers generally cannot suspend an employee without pay, but there are some exceptions. Employers can usually suspend with pay for short periods for administrative reasons such as workplace investigations into misconduct.

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