Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.
Our company recently received an international harassment complaint in which related parties to be interviewed are based in several countries. What are the primary considerations for determining who is best suited as the investigator investigating this type of international complaint?
In this globalized and digital world, it is not rare for a global company to receive a harassment complaint that involves employees in several countries. For example, you may receive a complaint made by an employee based in Japan, alleging the harassment against her manager in the U.S. and team members who possibly witnessed the alleged harassment at a Zoom meeting who are based in Singapore and China.
It is crucial to conduct an effective investigation so that the company can take proper action based on the accurate understanding of what happened. It can also be a legal requirement to investigate a complaint depending on the country. For example, if this is a sexual harassment claim, Japanese law would require an investigation.
A key decision to be made at the planning stage of the investigation is to choose the right investigator.
Large international companies often have dedicated investigation compliance teams or dedicated HR professionals to manage investigations. Other options for an investigator include an in-house attorney, outside attorney, or outside non-attorney investigation vendor.
To locate the right investigator for the circumstances, consider the following questions:
- Should the investigation be in person or virtual?
- Should it be investigated by HQ or locally?
- Should the investigator be an internal employee or a hired third-party investigator?
- Should this be handled by legal or HR?
- What language should be used to conduct the investigation?
- How will the attorney-client privilege be addressed? Should the investigator be a licensed attorney?
Based on the responses to these questions, you can determine who might be the best person to serve as an investigator. For more information on international investigations reach out to your preferred Littler contact.