The Essential Guide to Workplace Investigations: A Step-By-Step Guide to Handling Employee Complaints & Problems

The Essential Guide to Workplace Investigations: A Step-By-Step Guide to Handling Employee Complaints & Problems

by Lisa Guerin J.D.

Paperback(Fifth Edition)

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Learn how to conduct a full and fair workplace investigation

Workplace complaints carry serious legal and financial risks to a company, so it’s essential to act fast when you receive an employee complaint. But an ineffective or poorly handled investigation can land your company in even more trouble than not performing one at all. In the era of #MeToo, it’s more important than ever to ensure your investigation is complete, impartial, and timely.

The Essential Guide to Workplace Investigations shows you how to legally and successfully investigate and resolve any type of complaint or problem. It covers common workplace issues such as harassment, discrimination, violence, drug and alcohol use, and employee theft.

The book guides you through each step of an effective investigation, including:

  • deciding whether to investigate
  • taking immediate action, if necessary
  • choosing an investigator
  • planning the investigation
  • interviewing witnesses
  • gathering and evaluating the evidence
  • taking action
  • documenting the investigation, and
  • following up.

With Downloadable Forms You can download all the forms you need, including sample policies, checklists, templates, and resources at

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781413326253
Publisher: NOLO
Publication date: 07/29/2019
Edition description: Fifth Edition
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 1,151,062
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Lisa Guerin, an editor and author specializing in employment law, is author or co-author of several Nolo books, including The Manager's Legal Handbook , and The Essential Guide to Federal Employment Laws. Guerin has practiced employment law in government, public interest, and private practice where she represented clients at all levels of state and federal courts and in agency proceedings. She is a graduate of Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley.

Table of Contents

Part I: Investigation Basics
1. Workplace Investigations: An Overview
2. Getting Started
3. Gather Information
4. Make and Document Your Decision
Part II: Investigating Common Workplace Problems
5. Investigating Discrimination
6. Investigating Harassment
7. Investigating Workplace Theft
8. Investigating Threats and Violence
9. Investigating Drug and Alcohol Use
A. Workplace Policies
B. Forms and Checklists
C. Sample Investigation Documents
D. Resources


In the past year, the #MeToo movement has rocked workplaces from Hollywood and Congress to news networks, restaurants, manufacturing plants, and more. It has also spurred many important public and private conversations about the cost of sexual harassment on (mostly) women’s careers, earning potential, safety, and self-esteem. Again and again, we’ve heard stories about complaints being downplayed, harassers being allowed to continue abusing employees with impunity, and victims facing retaliation for coming forward.

Allowing harassment to continue unchecked is never the right ethical decision, nor is it wise from a business perspective. Planning and carrying out an investigation can be daunting, but it’s vitally important to your company’s employees, culture, and reputation. This book provides step-by-step guidance that will help you come up with a game plan, gather evidence, question witnesses, and take action if necessary. If you hire an outside investigator, it will help you understand the investigator’s work and findings. With a separate chapter devoted solely to investigating harassment claims, this book will help you with what might be today’s most pressing workplace issue.

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