This post cautions about what not to do in an internal employment investigation and provides four helpful tips to avoid mishandling a complaint of sexual harassment. 

Part Three of this three-part series on employment investigations for religious organizations addresses how to best handle the wrap-up of an investigation, including reporting the findings and taking remedial action.

Part Two of this three-part series on employment investigations for religious organizations presents tips and best practices for conducting the investigation, highlighting how to avoid some pitfalls.

Part One of this three-part series on employment investigations for religious organizations introduces the importance of these investigations and how to develop a framework for conducting them. 

This post provides an overview of the EEOC’s new interpretative guidance on retaliation for employment discrimination claims, including practical tips for employers.

Recently, a court has allowed to go forward most of a case against the Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco. The case alleges that the school did not investigate, refused to apply the ministerial exception defense, and did not find any formal religious decision-making process. What lessons can be learned here?

A good investigation requires many complex skills that include managing the investigation, doing interviews, and making credibility determinations. A credibility determination requires the investigative team to analyze the facts and decide the truth of the matter, sometimes with conflicting evidence. The investigation must be done skillfully and must consider legal issues.

Our question today is, how do you avoid a retaliation lawsuit? The original complaint doesn’t have to have merit. It could be wrong or ill-conceived. It is still going to be difficult to get a claim of retaliation dismissed. You are going to have to show a non-retaliatory business reason for the termination... 

Moving an investigation along in a timely way and addressing concerns are important. And the investigation should not begin with assumptions of anyone’s innocence or guilt. It should be possible to show reasonably how the results were reached. If accusations are fabricated...

This is quite helpful Theresa. I think the biggest issue here, is, wait for it, …communication! Part of me still struggles with wondering if it is possible to investigate a complaint by a party, gather information through an investigation through all parties, and end up by determining that the complaining party is more the problem than anyone else.