New Item: Cannabis Security: 3 Legal Considerations When Working at Dispensaries – Total Security Advisor – Total Security

This is Part 2 in a two-part series covering the Security Industry Association’s (SIA) recently held Vertical Insights Symposium on Cannabis Security. Part 1 explored how security managers can protect cannabis establishments, and Part 2 will examine legal considerations when working with such businesses.

Imagine seeing robbers sawing through the ceiling, descending with ropes, and heisting everything from a vault room in a style reminiscent of the 2001 Ocean’s Eleven movie. While the movie was about a casino heist, similar heists of cannabis outlets have taken place.

Matthew Johnson, vice president of risk services for QuadScore Insurance Services, emphasizes how important it is for cannabis businesses to use state-of-the-art video surveillance and employ security guards and other security precautions. He also explains why adequate insurance coverage is important for cannabis outlets.

Because cannabis is still illegal federally, these outlets are primarily cash-heavy, making them targets for the bad guys. Therefore, security professionals should work in conjunction with owners and managers to ensure that when bad things do happen, insurance will be able to cover as much of the loss as possible. This is especially important as more states make marijuana legal for medical use, recreational use, or both and new facilities open.

There are three legal issues security professionals should consider when working with cannabis establishments:

1. Insurance

Doug Esposito, renewable energy, construction, and cannabis practice leader from Assured Partners and member of the Risk Management and Insurance Committee for the National Cannabis Industry Association, says, “Many people will say they got their license, but that has nothing to do with qualifying for the highest levels and the best rates from the insurance carrier standpoint.”

Moreover, Esposito advises cannabis businesses to meet with insurance consultants regarding property and product liability insurance, as it’s important that businesses follow insurance paperwork requirements regarding best practices.

Cannabis companies should work with security professionals to consider the following issues that could arise:

  • Crops—indoor coverage is available; outdoor is often not
  • Pests and lighting issues
  • Business continuity planning
  • Equipment failures

2. Contracts

Attorney Michael Sampson, a partner of the Leech Tishman law firm, tells security professionals, “There is a real demand for your services and for thoughtful consideration of protecting this industry.”

When entering into a contract, security professionals should work with businesses to ensure they do the following:

  • Understand state regulations they are subject to, and follow them.
  • How cannabis products will be delivered to dispensaries, as well as whether the product will be delivered to people’s homes.
  • Ensure their license is current, they have all necessary local and state permits, and they are generally in good standing.
  • Determine whether they had previous lawsuits filed against them or missed payments.
  • Ensure facilities have a security plan, access control, video surveillance, and a relationship with local law enforcement.

3. Transferring Liability

Security professionals should transfer risk to the party they are doing business with.

“At the end of the day, you want to make sure you are dealing with licensed and reputable cannabis businesses, of which there are many,” Sampson adds.

The best way security professionals can protect themselves when working with cannabis businesses is by keeping the following risk-transfer and mitigation considerations in mind:

Representations and warranties. Identify the product being sold in the contract, and have the promise to follow applicable local and state laws in writing.  

Insurance requirements. Make sure the cannabis business has professional liability, commercial general liability, cyber, theft, and other insurance, and possibly be added as an additional insured under the policy. Security professionals should also limit their insurance requirements, costs, and other people’s access to their insurance. All possible risks, scenarios, and needs should be considered.

Indemnification provisions. It should be clear who will pay if something goes wrong and what the insurance covers. Determine whether there should also be a carve-out for gross negligence or willful misconduct.

Limitation-of-liability clauses. This limits the exposure if a lawsuit is filed or a claim is made.

Force majeure clauses. This provides an exemption due to weather events such as hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes.

By following best practices, taking due diligence, and transferring liability, security professionals can use legal considerations when working with cannabis businesses.

The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Uber, Lyft facing fines for failing to provide drivers with proper COVID-19 protections – San Francisco Chronicle

State workplace safety regulators cited Rideshare companies Lyft and Uber for failing to provide masks and gloves to their drivers and otherwise prevent the spread of COVID-19, and for excluding drivers from their general injury and illness prevention plans, Cal/OSHA documents show.

“This is the first time that a state safety agency has extended workplace protections to gig workers, and challenges the companies’ that they have no responsibility to ensure safety of drivers,” Rideshare Drivers United, a group which represents thousands of gig workers, some of whom brought the complaints, said in a statement.

Uber and Lyft did not respond to emailed requests for comment.

Beyond just providing masks and gloves, the companies did not screen drivers for COVID-19 before their shifts, did not notify them when they were exposed to an infected passenger or conduct exposure investigations and did not enforce local and state masking requirements for riders, according to the citations.

They also failed to designate a person to oversee driver safety, communicate health and safety information to drivers, and to train them on preventing workplace violence, including on risks from picking up riders, according to regulators.

The companies also did not provide drivers’ training and safety inspection records when asked for them by state authorities.

The citations issued by the state’s workplace safety regulator are also remarkable because Uber and Lyft drivers are currently classified as contractors, not employees, under state labor law after the passage of Prop 22 in 2020.

The law exempted gig and Rideshare workers from the state’s AB5 law that would have made them company employees with benefits, although an Alameda County judge ruled Prop 22 unconstitutional last year, a decision currently under appeal.

The citations came with total proposed fines of $2,255 for each company. Companies can and often do appeal fines which are sometimes reduced.

In February Lyft brought back shared rides the company had stopped because of the pandemic. Shortly thereafter about 2,000 drivers who are part of Rideshare Drivers United signed a petition asking for more workplace safety protections from Lyft, which they said the company did not accept.

Drivers filed the complaints against Uber and Lyft with Cal/OSHA shortly afterwards.

“Finally Uber and Lyft are being held accountable for their lack of attention to drivers’ and passengers’ health and safety in the name of greed,” said Roberto Moreno, a Rideshare driver from San Diego, in a statement released by Rideshare Drivers United “I am especially thankful that Cal/OSHA will extend their (veil) of protection to all drivers. No multimillion dollar corporation is above workers’ rights.”

The driver also complained over not being paid to sanitize their vehicles and compensation for gloves and masks. Cal/OSHA referred those issues to the state’s Department of Labor Standards Enforcement which handles wage issues.

Chase DiFeliciantonio is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: chase.difeliciantonio@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @ChaseDiFelice

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Executive Branch Daily Schedule and Priority Outline 9 August 2022 – The National Law Review

Related Practices & Jurisdictions

US Executive Branch Update – August 9, 2022

This report provides a snapshot of the U.S. Executive Branch priorities via daily schedules and the prior day’s press releases.

POTUS’ Schedule*

9:00 a.m. EDT – THE PRESIDENT receives the President’s Daily Briefing | The White House

10:00 a.m. EDT – THE PRESIDENT delivers remarks and signs into law H.R. 4346, the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022; The Vice President, the Secretary of Commerce, the United States Trade Representative, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget attend | South Lawn

  • Fact Sheet:  CHIPS and Science Act Will Lower Costs, Create Jobs, Strengthen Supply Chains, and Counter China

2:00 p.m. EDT – THE PRESIDENT delivers remarks and signs the Instruments of Ratification for the Accession Protocols to the North Atlantic Treaty for the Republic of Finland and Kingdom of Sweden; The Vice President attends | East Room

VPOTUS’ Schedule*

10:00 a.m. EDT – THE VICE PRESIDENT will join THE PRESIDENT at the signing of H.R. 4346, the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022.  The Secretary of Commerce, the U.S. Trade Representative, and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget will also attend | South Lawn

2:00 p.m. EDT– THE VICE PRESIDENT will join THE PRESIDENT at the signing of the Instruments of Ratification for the Accession Protocols to the North Atlantic Treaty for the Republic of Finland and Kingdom of Sweden | East Room

White House Press Briefing Schedule*

2:40 p.m. EDT – Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre | James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

*The U.S. President (POTUS) and Vice President’s (VPOTUS) daily schedules are subject to change, as is the White House press briefing schedule.

Recap of Monday, August 8, 2022

Note: All colored text denotes hyperlinks.

The White House

  • Remarks by President Biden Before Air Force One Departure

  • Transcript:  Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre En Route Lexington, Kentucky

  • Remarks by Vice President Harris Before Roundtable Discussion with University Presidents

  • Readout of Vice President Harris’ Call with Prime Minister Holness of Jamaica

  • Fact Sheet:  U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Transcript:  Background Press Call by Senior Administration Officials Previewing the U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Memorandum on the Delegation of Authority Under Section 506(a)(1) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961

Department of Defense (DOD)

  • Press Release:  $1 Billion in Additional Security Assistance for Ukraine

  • Transcript:  Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Dr. Kahl Press Conference (UKR)

  • Article:  $1 Billion Support Package for Ukraine, Largest Yet

  • Readout of Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III’s Phone Call with Canadian Minister of National Defence Anita Anand

  • Publication:  Memo-Consolidated Department of Defense Coronavirus Disease 2019 Force Health Protection Guidance – Revision 2

  • Publication:  Consolidated Department of Defense Coronavirus Disease 2019 Force Health Protection Guidance – Revision 2

  • Article:  Medal of Honor Monday | Navy Quartermaster John Cooper

  • Contracts for August 8, 2022

Department of State

Daily Schedule | Tuesday, August 9

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is on travel to South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda from August 9-12, 2022.

SecState’s Trip

  • August 8:  SecState Speech | Vital Partners, Shared Priorities: The Biden Administration’s Sub-Saharan Africa Strategy (South Africa)

  • August 8:  Remarks | Opening of the U.S.-South African Strategic Dialogue (South Africa)

  • August 8:  Remarks | Secretary Antony J. Blinken and South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor at a Joint Press Availability

  • August 8:  Fact Sheet | The United States and the Republic of South Africa

  • August 8:  Fact Sheet | U.S. Food Security Assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa

  • August 8:  Interview | Secretary Antony J. Blinken with Thulasizwe Simelane of eNCA (South Africa)

Europe, Ukraine

Africa

Asia-Pacific

  • August 8:  Readout | Deputy Secretary Sherman’s Meeting with Australian FM Penny Wong

  • August 8:  Readout | Deputy Secretary Sherman’s Meeting with Australia Assistant Minister for Trade and Manufacturing Tim Ayres

  • August 8:  Readout | Deputy Secretary Sherman’s Meeting with Australian DFAT Secretary Jan Adams

  • August 8:  Statement | United States Hosts Proliferation Security Initiative Exercise Fortune Guard 22

  • August 8:  Sanctions | Imposing Sanctions on Virtual Currency Mixer Tornado Cash (North Korea)

  • August 8:  Statement | Singapore National Day

Middle East

Other Matters

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

  • Readout:  Administrator Samantha Power Meets with Gustavo Francisco Petro Urrego, President of Colombia and U.S. Embassy Bogota Staff

  • Remarks:  Administrator Power’s Press Conference Following Inauguration of Colombian President Gustavo Petro

  • Press Release:  The United States Contributes $4.5 Billion to Support the Government of Ukraine

  • Press Release:  United States Announces $15 Million for the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund

U.S. Mission to the United Nations (UN)

  • Remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at a UN Security Council Open Debate on Peace and Security in Africa

  • Remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at a UN Security Council Briefing on the Situation in the Middle East

  • Transcript:  Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s Interview with Dan Kurtz-Phelan of Foreign Affairs

Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)

Department of the Treasury

Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC)

Department of Justice

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) | Daily Press Releases

  • Press Release:  Federal Judge Sentences Three Men Convicted of Racially Motivated Hate Crimes in Connection with the Killing of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia

  • Press Release:  United States Obtains Warrant for Seizure of Airplane of Sanctioned Russian Oligarch Andrei Skoch, Worth Over $90 Million

  • Press Release:  Virginia Landlords to Pay $225,000 to Resolve Violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

  • Press Release:  Woman Convicted in $34 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme

  • Press Release:  New York Man Sentenced to Prison for Role in Identity Theft Conspiracy

  • Press Release:  Manager of Key West Labor Staffing Companies Sentenced for Tax Crimes and Immigration Fraud

  • Press Release:  Massachusetts Construction Company Owner Indicted for Tax Crimes

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

  • DHS Statement on U.S. District Court’s Decision Regarding MPP

  • Press Release:  CBP Officers Encounter 95 Exotic Reptiles, Insects at Hidalgo International Bridge (Texas)

  • Press Release:  Dozens of migrants discovered in an El Paso stash house (Texas)

  • Press Release:  Three Smuggling Events Leads to the Arrest of 12 Subjects (Texas)

  • Press Release:  Global Entry Begins Touchless, Receipt-less Processing at ORD (Illinois)

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Commerce Department/National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

  • Press Release:  FCC Opens Proceeding On Servicing, Assembly, & Manufacturing In Space

  • Press Release:  FCC Establishes Affordable Connectivity Outreach Grant Program

  • Press Release:  FCC Creates ‘Your Home, Your Internet’ Pilot Program

Department of Agriculture (USDA)/Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)

Department of Interior (DOI)

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • Press Release:  EPA Accepting Clean School Bus Rebate Applications until August 19, 2022

  • Link to other EPA press releases

Department of Labor

  • Press Release:  Federal judge affirms U.S. Department of Labor finding that Colorado acute psychiatric treatment facility exposed employees to workplace violence

  • Press Release:  U.S. Department of Labor partners with Ryan Companies, Colorado State University to ensure worker safety at Loveland construction project

  • Press Release:  U.S. Department of Labor recovers $44K after investigation finds Idaho farms underpaid migrant farmworkers, provided substandard housing

  • Press Release:  Investigation finds Western New York home healthcare agency failed to comply with federal overtime law, recovers $228K for 260 workers

  • Press Release:  U.S. Department of Labor awards $960K to assist clean-up, recovery after northern California’s 2020 wildfires

  • Press Release:  U.S. Department of Labor finds e-commerce warehouse operator owes more than $1M in back wages to 995 workers in Kentucky, California

Health & Human Services (HHS)

  • Press Release:  HHS Awards Nearly $90 Million to Community Health Centers to Advance Health Equity through Better Data

  • Press Release:  HHS Invests Nearly $60 Million to Strengthen Health Care Workforce and Improve Access to Care in Rural Communities

  • Press Release:  Two Operation Fly Formula Flights Scheduled for Week of August 8

Housing & Urban Development (HUD)


© Copyright 2022 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP
National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 221

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Do You Have A Workplace Violence Prevention Plan? If Not, You Should. – JD Supra

According to the National Safety Council, every year, millions of workers in the U.S. report having been a victim of workplace violence.  In 2020, workplace assaults resulted in more than 20,000 workplace injuries necessitating time away from work, and hundreds of fatalities.  In that same year, according to the CDC, gun violence in America claimed more than 45,000 lives.  As more reports on mass shootings flash across our Twitter feeds, it is no wonder that violence in America, and especially in the workplace, has become more of a focus. 

With this backdrop, California recently issued its latest draft rulemaking intended to create a workplace violence regulation.  And, as is often the case, what starts on our West coast generally moves East in the following months and years. 

The new California draft rule is intended to apply to all employers in the Golden State, with very limited exception.  It is intended to eliminate threats of violence, and workplace violence – or, at a minimum, facilitate programs to curtail the same and track their occurrence.  And, while the effort may be laudable, the definitions included in the draft rule are broad, are not always clear, and are likely to create headaches and confusion for employers:

  • “Threat of violence” means a statement or conduct that causes a person to fear for their safety because there is a reasonable possibility the person might be injured, and that serves no legitimate purpose.”
  • “Workplace violence” means any act of violence or threat of violence that occurs in a place of employment.  Workplace violence includes the following:
    • “The threat or use of physical force against an employee that results in, or has a high likelihood of resulting in, injury, psychological trauma, or stress, regardless of whether the employee sustains an injury;
    • “An incident involving the threat or use of a firearm or other dangerous weapon, including the use of common objects as weapons, regardless of whether the employee sustains an injury. . . .”

Accordingly, a “harsh” stare with no discernable legitimate purpose may be considered a “threat of violence.”  Further, should this harsh stare cause the co-worker at whom it is directed to be “stressed,” it now falls within the definition of workplace violence.

In addition to the broad definitions, the second headache created by the draft rule is that employers must maintain a “Violent Incident Log” of every workplace violence incident – including the harsh stare that creates stress for a co-worker.  For employers who are already plagued with significant recordkeeping obligations – this adds further administrative burdens. 

As noted, this is only the latest draft addressing workplace violence in California.  In fact, Cal-OSHA has been working on a workplace violence prevention rule since 2016, when it enacted a similar rule for healthcare workplaces (that rule is in effect).  And, it is not likely the last draft.  However, as this rule draws closer to being final, and as workplace incidents of violence become more common, it is very likely that other states or the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will develop their own workplace violence standards.  (OSHA already has a landing page on its website devoted to the issue, which includes compliance directives for inspections, and various publications with recommendations for how various industries can avoid workplace violence.)

While there are some “headaches” in the draft rule, both it and OSHA both suggest employers should maintain a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan.  This is a very good recommendation – even if a regulation does not presently apply to your workplace.  At a minimum, such a plan can identify those items that an employer will not allow in its workplace, as well as the type of behaviors that the employer finds wholly unacceptable.  Further, such a plan can provide employees with a greater sense of safety and security in their workplace and surroundings (parking lots, etc.). 

Importantly, such a Plan also communicates to your employees that you are thinking about these concerns and employee wellbeing, and are attempting to address them in a positive manner.  Finally, such a Plan can provide employees with direction on where to go to report a concern – which may, in the end, prevent serious incidents of violence from ever occurring in the first instance.  Frankly, OSHA has repeatedly suggested that an employer’s failure to think about these issues, and to at least implement a plan, will likely support the issuance of a General Duty Clause violation and Citation. 

Our Foley Labor & Employment team is available to assist in devising a proper workplace violence prevention plan and to guide employers in considering these issues.

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Ottawa MPP re-introducing bill to oust councillors who misbehave – CBC.ca

An Ottawa MPP plans to re-introduce his private member’s bill looking to change the law so that a city councillor who has behaved disreputably can lose their seat.

Orléans MPP Stephen Blais’s bill, called the “Stopping Harassment and Abuse by Local Leaders Act,” would allow for a councillor who contravenes the code of conduct by failing to comply with workplace violence or harassment policies to be removed from office.

Currently, councillors can lose their seats for breaking election spending rules and certain conflict of interest rules. But the most severe penalty for a councillor who behaves egregiously is a suspension of pay. 

“It’s important to make sure that everyone works in a safe environment and also that your elected leaders have the moral authority to make decisions on your behalf,” Blais said.

Bill sparked by Chiarelli investigation

Blais said the bill was inspired in part after CBC and two damning integrity commissioner reports revealed Coun. Rick Chiarelli harassed former staff members and job applicants for years, and abused his power of office.

“I sat on Ottawa city council for about a decade, and throughout that time a colleague of mine was harassing psychologically, emotionally, with sexual innuendo, members of his staff,” he said. 

Blais served three terms as councillor for Cumberland ward from 2010 until 2020, when he stepped down to run in a provincial by-election for Orléans.

“It was shocking to to know that that was happening kind of right under your nose with one of your colleagues,” he said.

At least six women have made formal complaints against the College Ward councillor to the city’s integrity commissioner, alleging sexual harassment and improper behaviour. One of those investigations is still ongoing. 

After an investigation by the integrity commissioner, Chiarelli had his salary docked for about 15 months, but he’s been back on the city payroll since November.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Chiarelli said the councillor continues to maintain his innocence regarding the allegations against him. His office questioned the timing of the bill as the deadline to register for the municipal election is days away. 

The statement said an announcement about whether Chiarelli will run for re-election will be made before the Aug. 19 deadline. 

There have been other stories of shocking misconduct by councillors in other Ontario cities including Brampton, Barrie and Mississauga, Blais said.

Bill made it to 2nd reading before election

This will be the third time Blais has introduced the bill, and he said it will be the first piece of legislation the Liberals introduce in the new parliamentary session. 

In March, Blais’s bill passed second reading at Queen’s Park — an uncommon occurrence for a non-government bill that aims to change provincial law.

But the government didn’t push it forward for a third reading before the provincial election in June. Blais said he sees a new parliament as presenting “new opportunity and new hope.” 

He’s hoping to find an ally in rookie MPP Charmaine Williams, a former Brampton city councillor whom Blais said called for a colleague to resign after misconduct allegations. He’s also hoping for support from Graydon Smith, the former president of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. 

“I’m hoping that both of them will take the comments they’ve used in the past, the recommendations they’ve made in the past, and bring those forward to the government,” Blais said.

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: County may OK pepper spray for employee safety – Yahoo News

Aug. 9—Bernalillo County leaders want to amend the county’s weapons policy so employees can carry pepper spray in the event they encounter trouble coming into or leaving work.

According to the proposed policy change, “The county recognizes that employees may encounter unsafe circumstances during their ingress and egress to Alvarado Square. This policy is intended to allow employees to have pepper spray while outside of work in an emergent circumstance.”

Hundreds of employees work at Alvarado Square, the Downtown headquarters the county opened a year ago to consolidate operations previously spread out in multiple facilities. The county bought the building at 415 Silver SW, formerly home to Public Service Company of New Mexico, in 2017 and has spent $72 million on the project so far. The county’s current “Workplace Violence Policy” prohibits employees from having weapons — including “any device principally designed to cause bodily injury” — on county property unless they are law enforcement personnel or have approval to carry a weapon as part of their job duties.

The proposal going before the County Commission Tuesday adds language exempting pepper spray.

“The carrying of pepper spray by employees at Alvarado Square for self-defense purposes is allowable and pepper spray will not be considered a weapon under this policy unless other parameters of this policy are violated,” the proposed new language states.

If approved by the commission, the policy would allow workers to carry a single pepper spray canister up to 3 ounces, but they would have to notify Risk Management in writing and keep it concealed while in the building.

A spokesman said the policy change is not tied to any incident but rather employee inquiries.

“There’s concerns (that) we are in a Downtown area; the county can protect its building, but once you get out of the property you have to protect yourself,” spokesman Tom Thorpe said. “People have asked for the ability to do that and the county says ‘absolutely.’ “

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: When to use an outside investigator – Virginia Lawyers Weekly

Documents from investigation

Eventually, most organizations will face a complaint of wrongdoing involving a company employee, or worse, a company leader. When such complaints arise, the company should respond with a prompt, thorough, and fair investigation. Typically, it’s not a question of whether the company should investigate, but who should conduct it.

Investigators are often responsible for interviewing witnesses, making findings, and recommending the appropriate response, including potential disciplinary action. However, juries may distrust internal investigations, particularly if the investigation seems incomplete or biased.

When issues of workplace misconduct arise, companies should be careful to provide a thorough and impartial investigation. While trained and experienced internal investigators can meet the company’s needs in many circumstances, each situation should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Conflicts of interest: Consider whether undue influence, or simply the appearance thereof, could play a role in an internal investigation. That can be an issue when a CEO, board member, or other senior leader is the subject of an employee complaint.

If an internal employee is conducting the investigation, that person could be subject (or appear to be subject) to certain power dynamics, such as those involving compensation or advancement within the organization.

Potential for litigation: Consider an outside investigator if the employee has a lawyer, has filed a complaint with a state or federal agency, or seems likely to pursue litigation.

Statutory investigations: Allegations of sexual harassment as well as discrimination based on race, disability, gender, pregnancy, age and other protected classes can result in substantial legal liability. Involving legal counsel early on may help reduce exposure and mitigate future costs.

Multiple complaints: If the employer has received multiple complaints, including those involving different functions and/or an extended time period, it could suggest that larger, systemic issues are at play.

Sensitivity: If the nature of the concern involves sexual assault or workplace violence, consider hiring an outside investigator specializing in trauma situations.

Skills or workload: Consider hiring an outside investigator when the internal HR team has little experience conducting workplace investigations or simply does not have the capacity to conduct a prompt and thorough inquiry.

Employer brand: Sometimes the reason to hire an outside investigator is simply one of employee morale and perception. Bringing in third-party support gives the appearance that the organization takes employee complaints seriously. When an employee perceives their complaint is being handled fairly, they’re less likely to pursue litigation. Likewise, their peers may feel a greater sense of safety and overall respect for the organization.

Source: Ross Arrowsmith