The Importance of Investigating a Complaint in the Workplace

ArLyne Diamond's Profile

The accusations against Tom Brokaw remind me of the importance of neutral, unbiased, and thorough investigations when an issue arises in the workplace.  I don’t know if Brokaw was guilty or not.  What bothers me is that because so many years have passed there is no way of knowing what really happened – or the context surrounding it. Evidence disappears, both physical and electronic, and people's memories get cloudy. 

We all operate from our own biases, no matter how neutral we want to be – and so it is important to be able to identify them and compensate for them.  I can recall my own shock at hearing the accusations against Bill Cosby.  I remembered the clean cut Dr. Huxtable who would never do anything so evil as to drug and rape women.  But then I remembered seeing him in person sitting on the edge of the stage telling some jokes at a live event that I personally found offensive. It took me a long time to recall that situation though. My personal biases didn’t want to believe how awful he really had become, and due to the passage of time, 'evidence' and memory had become cloudy.

So if there are troubling personnel issues at your workplace that truly deserve to be looked into, don't delay. These things don't get easier with the passage of time, and behavior (and expectations) that should be addressed are left to fester. 

To learn more about doing this properly, check out my course on Investigating a Complaint in the Workplace.

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ArLyne Diamond, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized Leadership, Management, Professional Development and O-D consultant specializing in people and processes in the workplace. Multifaceted, Dr. Diamond has extensive experience in a wide range of disciplines (business, education, management, marketing, business ownership, psychology – and some economics and law as well.) This enables her to see things from a variety of angles and to cleave to the essence of a problem quickly, offering her clients creative and practical solutions