How workplace investigations have pivoted amid #WFH pandemic – San Bernardino Sun

In the COVID-19 pandemic, many business activities have stopped or are lagging behind.

Developers withdraw construction projects, deals are canceled, and they rarely meet in person.

But a workplace survey? In the world of telecommuting and social distance, the practices are clearly different, but they continue.

Ann Fromholtz, Founder and Owner From Holtz OfficeA Pasadena-based law firm specializing in workplace issues related to sexual harassment, retaliation, fraud, racism, and many other issues, has said research is shifting its focus to the digital world. I have seen it.

“The big change for all of us is that we often don’t do things directly anymore,” said Fromholtz. “Most of the time, the highlight is an interview with a witness, who means a party who complains, responds, etc. who may have seen or heard something related to the allegation. “

According to her, many of today’s workplace complaints are related to comments and threats made via email, Slack, phone text, or other electronic channels. At the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, Fromholtz noted the surge in harassment allegations that continue to this day.

“I’ve seen racist complaints actually increase,” she said. “I investigated a situation where people complained that they were retaliated for participating in the protest, and they didn’t necessarily take a break from work — they just participated in the protest. “

41% of Americans were targeted

2018 Pew Research Center Survey Forty-one percent of adults in the United States have found that they are experiencing some form of online harassment in at least one of the six major methods measured.

Bringing parties together for an interview via video conferencing is more convenient than traditional on-site meetings, according to Fromholtz, but it’s still not easy to investigate.

“Investigating workplace issues is always a complex process, complicated in a virtual world trying to look at new forms of workplace harassment and determine someone’s credibility for video,” she said. ..

Most recent interviews are conducted via ZOOM, Google Meet, or similar video conferencing technology.

“In the early days of the pandemic, this was so new that it was glitchy and difficult for many,” said Fromholtz. “But over a year now, most witnesses are used to video calling. The discomfort and lack of familiarity with video conferencing platforms has almost disappeared.”

The most common types of workplace surveys conducted by Fromholz offices are related to retaliation, bullying, racism and sexual harassment. However, there are also complaints of fraud and sexual assault.

Body language

Some researchers feel that video technology is jeopardizing the interview process, but Fromholtz agrees, for example, because it is no longer possible to assess a person’s body language when entering a room or sitting at a desk. I will not.

“Guidance from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing specifically states that most researchers are not trained professionals in assessing body language and should not do so,” she said. It was.

By removing it from the equation, Fromholtz allows investigators to focus more on the basics: relevant documents, employees who provide support for fraud, and others who may be inconsistent with the allegations. Said that it can be done.

The video interview also said she said there was much less disruption to the business environment.

“When I was in the office, I was sitting in the conference room and interviewing witnesses one by one,” said Fromholtz. “I was always worried that this would start gossip. People would see this witness parade come and go and ask,’What’s going on?’ “”

Often not reported

Despite the seriousness of harassment in the workplace Research According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the United States, many cases have not been reported.

“The most uncommon response to harassment is to report the harassment internally or take some formal action to file a formal legal complaint,” the report said. “Three in four people who experienced harassment had never even talked to their boss, manager, or union representative about harassment.”

According to the EEOC, many workers who have experienced harassment fail to report harassment or file complaints because they fear distrust of their claims, negligence from their employers, and social or professional retaliation. I will.

How workplace investigations have pivoted amid #WFH pandemic – San Bernardino Sun Source link How workplace investigations have pivoted amid #WFH pandemic – San Bernardino Sun

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