INDEPENDENT WORKPLACE INVESTIGATIONS
In the last several years, workplace investigations of sexual harassment complaints, discrimination and retaliation have evolved from an occasional suggestion of management – used sporadically to support a difficult employment decision or to satisfy an employee complainant – to an essential procedure that could quite possibly single handedly protect an employer from legal liability.
The importance of conducting a prompt, thorough, fair and efficient investigation cannot be overstated, and is virtually mandatory if an employer expects to prevent, resolve or defend against claims of workplace misconduct.
An investigation usually consists of interviewing relevant witnesses, gathering documents and making other inquiries to produce a report that can be used to make employment decisions or defend against imminent or pending legal action.
The firm’s workplace investigation practice was founded and is managed by member Michael Torchia. Mr. Torchia is a well-known investigator who has conducted over 100 investigations nationwide. In addition to regularly conducting workplace investigations, he trains other attorneys and human resources personnel in workplace investigations and has written frequently on the topic, including a chapter on investigations in the 2012 edition of the Pennsylvania Employment Deskbook from PBI Press.
In addition to being hired as an investigator, Mr. Torchia has been retained as an expert witness to provide his professional opinion about the sufficiency of other workplace investigations, and has been qualified (approved) in federal court as an expert witness to provide such an opinion.
The firm regularly investigates a variety of claims, including sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation, wage and hour issues and other forms of employee misconduct. Although our clients often seek investigations in the course of matters being handled by the firm, the firm is also frequently retained by a company or a law firm as outside independent investigators, to conduct an independent workplace investigation. These independent investigations are performed as a neutral and not as counsel. The firm will also partner with specialists if necessary, such as forensic accountants or computer experts.