Facing workplace discrimination is challenging, but knowing what to expect during an investigation can help ease some of the stress. In Southern California, employees are protected under various state and federal laws against discrimination based on race, gender, age, disability, and other protected characteristics.

This blog will guide you through the process of a workplace discrimination investigation and how PLBH can assist you in navigating this difficult time. Contact us at (800) 435-7542 for a legal consultation.

Initiating the Investigation

Filing a Complaint

The first step in addressing workplace discrimination is to file a complaint. This can be done through:

  • Internal Channels: Report the discrimination to your HR department, supervisor, or designated company representative.
  • External Agencies: File a complaint with external agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).

Initial Review

Once the complaint is filed, the relevant authority will conduct an initial review to determine if the allegations warrant a full investigation. This includes:

  • Assessing the details of the complaint
  • Reviewing any preliminary evidence provided
  • Deciding whether the complaint falls within their jurisdiction

The Investigation Process

Gathering Evidence

The investigation will involve collecting and analyzing evidence to support or refute the claims. This may include:

  • Documents: Reviewing emails, memos, performance reviews, and other relevant documents.
  • Witness Statements: Interviewing coworkers, supervisors, and other individuals who may have witnessed the discrimination or have relevant information.
  • Policies and Procedures: Examining company policies and procedures to determine if they were followed correctly.

Employee Interviews

During the investigation, the investigator will interview the complainant and the accused, along with any witnesses. These interviews are crucial for gathering detailed information and understanding the context of the alleged discrimination.

  • Preparation: Be prepared to discuss the incidents in detail, provide any supporting documentation, and suggest potential witnesses.
  • Confidentiality: While confidentiality cannot be guaranteed, investigators typically make efforts to protect the privacy of those involved.

Interim Measures

To prevent further discrimination or retaliation during the investigation, employers may implement interim measures such as:

  • Reassigning duties
  • Adjusting work schedules
  • Providing temporary leave

The Outcome of the Investigation

Findings and Recommendations

After completing the investigation, the investigator will compile a report outlining their findings and any recommendations. Possible outcomes include:

  • Substantiated: Evidence supports the claims of discrimination.
  • Unsubstantiated: Insufficient evidence to support the claims.
  • Inconclusive: Unable to determine whether discrimination occurred based on the evidence.

Employer Actions

Based on the findings, the employer may take various actions, such as:

  • Disciplinary action against the perpetrator
  • Policy changes to prevent future discrimination
  • Training and education programs
  • Restitution for the affected employee, which may include reinstatement, back pay, or other remedies

Protecting Your Rights

Understanding Your Options

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation, you have several options:

  • Internal Appeal: Request a review or appeal of the decision within your company.
  • External Complaint: File a complaint with external agencies like the EEOC or DFEH if not already done.
  • Legal Action: Consider pursuing legal action with the help of an experienced employment law attorney.

How PLBH Can Help

Navigating a workplace discrimination investigation can be complex and overwhelming. At PLBH, we provide comprehensive support to help you through this process:

  • Expert Consultation: We offer tailored advice based on your specific situation and legal rights.
  • Case Evaluation: Our attorneys will thoroughly evaluate your case to determine the best course of action.
  • Representation: We provide strong representation throughout the investigation and any subsequent legal proceedings.
  • Support: We ensure you are supported every step of the way, keeping you informed and prepared.

Taking Action for a Fair Workplace

Experiencing workplace discrimination is distressing, but understanding the investigation process can help you feel more in control. If you are facing discrimination at work, contact PLBH at (800) 435-7542 for a consultation. Our dedicated team is here to protect your rights and help you achieve a fair and just workplace.