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March 27, 2010
Maintaining Communication Following an Employee Complaint Investigation

In a BLR webinar entitled "Complaint Investigations: The Legal Dos and Don'ts of Finding the Truth Without Breaking the Law," Matthew H. Haverstick, Esq., partner in the nationwide law firm Conrad O'Brien P.C., discussed the importance of staying in touch with employees following a complaint investigation.

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Once you've concluded the investigation, you should inform the complainant of the outcome. Unless the corrective action against the offending employee is obvious (e.g., demotion, termination), the complainant may have no way of knowing corrective action has been taken, assume that it was not, and take their complaint to court.

And, you should stay in touch with employees who were affected by the investigation and its aftermath. If someone was harassed, does he or she now feel safe? Is there any evidence that an involved individual is experiencing retaliation? Is anyone resentful of the investigation's outcome? And, were any organizational problems uncovered as a result of the process? If so, HR and senior management need to address them.

Matthew H. Haverstick, Esq., is a partner in the nationwide law firm Conrad O'Brien P.C. Mr. Haverstick focuses his practice on internal corporate investigations, white-collar criminal defense, complex business torts, securities arbitrations, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) claims and construction defect cases. He may be contacted at mhaverstick@conradobrien.com

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