The Ghomeshi case has highlighted the issue of rights and obligations of employees and employers with respect to workplace investigations.
Generally speaking, employees have a duty to participate in workplace investigations and to be honest with their employer. To do otherwise, may be grounds to terminate employment without notice or pay in lieu of notice.
Likewise, employers have a duty to be honest with employees and to candidly advise of the purpose, scope and consequences of the investigation.
During a workplace investigation there are rights and interests for both employees and employers. As such, employees are well advised to seek independent legal advice from an employment lawyer if asked to participate in a workplace investigation. This will promote the protection of the employee’s rights and interests during the investigation.
Likewise, it is often wise for employers to consider hiring independent legal counsel as investigators, in order to reduce the risk of legal liability, conflict of interest, bias and/or a public relations nightmare.
The Ghomeshi case is a recent, public example of the intersection between private and work life, relations between employee and employer and the need for employers to be diligent in its response to employee misconduct.