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The Essential Guide to Workplace Investigations: How to Handle Employee Complaints & Problems, 4th edition

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Workplace complaints carry serious legal and financial risks to a company, so it’s essential to act fast when you receive an employee complaint. But an ineffective or poorly handled investigation can land your company in even more trouble than not performing one at all.

The Essential Guide to Workplace Investigations, 4th Edition shows you how to legally and successfully investigate and resolve any type of complaint or problem. It covers common workplace issues such as harassment, discrimination, workplace violence, drug and alcohol use, and employee theft.

This bestselling book guides you through the steps of an effective investigation:

  • deciding whether to investigate
  • taking immediate action, if necessary
  • choosing an investigator
  • planning the investigation
  • interviewing witnesses
  • gathering and evaluting the evidence
  • taking action
  • documenting the investigation
  • following up

Plus, this book comes with a website!

Nolo’s award-winning website has a page dedicated just to this book, where you can:

  • DOWNLOAD FORMS - All forms in this book are accessible online. After purchase, you can find a link to the URL in Appendix A.
  • KEEP UP TO DATE - When there are important changes to the information in this book, we will post updates


  • Complaint Policy
  • Open-Door Policy
  • Antidiscrimination Policy
  • Antiharassment Policy
  • Antiviolence Policy
  • Drug and Alcohol Policy
  • Complaint Form
  • Investigation Notice Form
  • Investigation Report Form
  • Adverse Action Notice
  • Checklist: Ten Steps to a Successful Investigation
  • Checklist: Avoiding Common Investigation Mistakes
  • Document Checklist
  • Credibility Checklist
  • Discipline Checklist
  • Investigation Report Checklist
  • Sample Investigation Documents


Lisa Guerin is the author or co-author of several books, including The Manager's Legal Handbook, Dealing with Problem Employees, The Essential Guide to Federal Employment Laws, Workplace Investigations, Create Your Own Employee Handbook, and Nolo's Guide to California Law. Guerin has practiced employment law in government, public interest, and private practice where she represented clients at all levels of state and federal courts and in agency proceedings. She is a graduate of Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley.


Part I: Investigation Basics

1. Workplace Investigations: An Overview

  • The Benefits of an Effective Investigation
  • Ten Steps to a Successful Investigation
  • Common Investigation Mistakes

2. Getting Started

  • Discovering Workplace Problems
  • Decide Whether to Investigate
  • Take Immediate Action, If Necessary
  • Choose the Investigator
  • Plan the Investigation

3. Gather Information

  • Get Started Right Away
  • Conducting Interviews
  • Gathering Other Evidence
  • Follow-Up Interviews

4. Make and Document Your Decision

  • Evaluate the Evidence
  • Decide Whether Misconduct Occurred
  • Take Action
  • Document Your Decision
  • Follow Up

Part II:    Investigating Common Workplace Problems

5. Investigating Discrimination

  • What Is Discrimination?
  • Ten Steps to an Effective Discrimination Investigation

6. Investigating Harassment

  • What Is Harassment?
  • Ten Steps to a Successful Harassment Investigation

7. Investigating Workplace Theft

  • How Employees Steal
  • Ten Steps to a Successful Theft Investigation

8. Investigating Threats and Violence

  • Threats and Violence in the Workplace
  • Ten Steps to a Successful Investigation of Violence

9. Investigating Drug and Alcohol Use

  • Workplace Drug and Alcohol Use
  • Ten Steps to a Successful Investigation of Drug or Alcohol Use


A. Using the Interactive Forms

  • Editing RTFs
  • List of Files

B. Resources

  • State Laws Prohibiting Discrimination in Employment
  • State Agencies That Enforce Laws Prohibiting Discrimination in Employment
  • State Drug and Alcohol Testing Laws
  • Resources on HR and Employment Available From Nolo


Additional Info

Name The Essential Guide to Workplace Investigations: How to Handle Employee Complaints & Problems, 4th edition
SKU 48.43080
Year published 2016
Page count 448
Publisher Nolo
ISBN 9781413322736
Author Lisa Guerin
Format Paperback


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