| Read Time: 3 minutes | Workplace Investigations

In Arizona, employees have specific rights during internal workplace investigations. If you are an employee concerned about a third-party investigation due to allegations of wrongdoing or otherwise, understanding your employee rights during an internal investigation can help you confidently navigate the process and ensure fair treatment.

What Are My Employee Rights During Internal Investigation?

When employers initiate an internal investigation, employee rights should be one of their first concerns. Internal HR departments or third-party investigators can legally conduct these investigations to address potential violations of company policies, legal regulations, or other workplace issues. Still, employees have certain rights in all cases, and employers must uphold them.

Right to Be Informed

One of the fundamental rights during an internal investigation is the right to be informed. Employers must notify employees that they are conducting an investigation, the nature of any allegations, and how they will conduct the investigation. Moreover, employees should receive timely updates and communication from HR or a third party about the investigation’s status, including any delays, scheduling conflicts, or timeline changes. This transparency is crucial to ensuring that employees understand the process and what their employer expects of them during the inquiry.

Right to Confidentiality

Confidentiality is a critical aspect of internal investigations. Employees can expect their employer to conduct the inquiry discreetly and protect their personal information. While employers cannot always guarantee absolute confidentiality, they must take reasonable steps to ensure they share information only on a need-to-know basis.

Right to Representation in Some Situations

In Arizona, union employees who reasonably believe that the investigation may result in disciplinary action have the right to request representation during interviews and meetings related to the investigation. Arizona law also ensures peace officers have the same rights. Non-union Arizona employees may ask for a co-worker or another representative’s presence, and employers cannot discipline them for the request. However, non-union Arizona employees cannot demand a representative’s presence or refuse to participate in an investigation until their employer provides a representative. Moreover, an employee’s failure to cooperate with a company investigation may legally result in disciplinary action. Alternatively, though employees do not have a right to demand representation, they can hire an attorney, which often ensures a fair and just outcome.

Right to a Fair Investigation

Due process in workplace investigations is essential, and employees have the right to expect a fair and impartial investigation. A fair and impartial inquiry requires employers to investigate without bias. It also means all parties involved should have an equal opportunity to present their story. The investigator must also gather evidence objectively and make findings based on facts, not assumptions.

Right to Respond

Employee rights during HR investigations include the right to respond to the allegations against them. This right is another critical aspect of due process. Employees should be allowed to explain their actions, provide evidence, and present witnesses who can support their case. Following these guidelines ensures that the investigation considers all relevant information before concluding.

Right to Protection from Retaliation

Retaliation against employees who participate in an investigation, either as a complainant or a witness, is illegal. Employees have the right to expect protection from any adverse actions, such as termination, demotion, or harassment, because of their involvement in the investigation. Employers must also take steps to prevent and address retaliation to ensure a safe and fair workplace environment.

Right to Know the Outcome

Employees involved in an internal investigation have the right to know the outcome once the investigation concludes. This right includes whether the allegations were proven and what the employer’s actions will be as a result.

Right to Appeal

Employees generally have the right to appeal if an investigation results in disciplinary action or other adverse consequences. Employees can address their concerns by following their company’s grievance policies or other relevant procedures.

Shields Petitti & Zoldan, PLC Your Employment Champions

If you face an internal workplace investigation in Arizona, the skilled worker’s rights attorneys at Shields Petitti & Zoldan, PLC can help. As Phoenix’s leading plaintiff employment law firm, we have over five decades of legal experience, which means we know how to protect employees’ interests. With an emphasis on employment law, our dedicated team is committed to providing comprehensive legal support and representation for individuals facing workplace-related challenges. Our firm’s unwavering commitment to ethical practice, unparalleled dedication to client advocacy, and strong reputation for impeccable service and integrity have solidified our position as leaders in employment law. Moreover, we’ve recovered nearly $25,000,000 in settlements, a testament to our commitment to justice. Reach out to us today to schedule a consultation.

Author Photo

Attorney Michael Zoldan provides legal counsel to individuals and small businesses throughout Arizona. Mr. Zoldan’s practice is based on aggressive and detail-oriented representation, focusing on employment discrimination, wage and hour disputes, harassment, and wrongful termination. Prior to forming Shields Petitti & Zoldan, Mr. Zoldan worked for numerous law firms where he had an opportunity to hone his litigation skills by working on multiple litigation cases at a time with some of the most skilled litigators in the state.

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