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Workplace investigations — Texas

Just as in emergency medicine, where the actions taken immediately after an accident are critical in determining the patient’s future, a rapid response to workplace problems, such as harassment, discrimination, retaliation or conflict among co-workers, is crucial to lessening the employer’s risk of liability.

There are many different types of employee conduct that may trigger an obligation by the employer to conduct the investigation. Harassment, discrimination and retaliation based on race, sex, age, religion and other protected categories are the most common and offer the greatest potential to avoid liability by conducting prompt and proper investigations and follow-up corrective actions. This chapter will therefore use the subject of harassment, discrimination and retaliation investigations as a way to illustrate the methods of conducting proper investigations of employee conduct.

There are a variety of other subjects, however, that employers must investigate. Information that a worker may threaten others or become violent must be promptly and thoroughly investigated, otherwise the employer may be subjected to large potential liability.

What may warrant an investigation

Criminal activity, harassment, discrimination and retaliation are areas of the law where it is clear that prompt and proper...

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