While speaking at a conference this year, I asked members of the Human Resources community to raise their hands if they routinely instructed employees not to discuss internal investigations.  No surprise, most of the hands (maybe all of them) went up.

For many good reasons, most employers instruct employees to keep the fact of and contents of investigations confidential.  For example, when investigations become public, employees often become less willing to come forward and discuss the nature of the investigation.  Also, in most instances the nature of the investigation involves sensitive information, like a harassment complaint.  Yet, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has indicated that reasons such as these are not legally sufficient to tell employees to keep their mouths shut.

Continue Reading Keeping Internal Investigations Confidential: That’s Not Legal?

The number of retaliation claims filed with the EEOC has been steadily rising.  Is there more retaliation in the working world?  More likely some of the rise is due to better knowledge of various employment laws’ anti-retaliation provisions and greater enforcement of those provisions, including more lawyers bringing retaliation claims that end in sizable verdicts.
Continue Reading How Not To Retaliate

I spent a day earlier this week representing a client in an EEOC on-site investigation.  The investigator interviewed numerous company officials.  At the start of each interview, the investigator stated that the EEOC is a “neutral third-party.”

While the EEOC is supposed to be neutral, many actions and positions taken by the EEOC leave companies (and their counsel) shaking their heads over this assertion of neutrality.  While the particular investigator I dealt with this week was quite professional, personable and reasonable, most other experiences with the EEOC make it hard for her and her peers to be viewed as neutral by any employer.

For instance, just this week the EEOC tweeted the following:
Continue Reading The EEOC As A “Neutral” Investigator?