A recent article in The New York Times questioned the propriety and effectiveness of a sexual harassment investigation conducted by a company’s Human Resources Department. The article noted the “inherent conflict of interest” at play because HR departments “while officially responsible for fielding employee complaints, also work for a company that faces potential liability.” The authors’ conclusion was that “[t]he result can often be that human resources personnel are more inclined to suppress allegations than get to the bottom of them.”

While I would question the above characterization/conclusion, and my own experience with HR-led internal investigations is that the great majority of HR departments conduct fair, honest, good-faith investigations, the article raises an interesting issue: Should HR departments more often look to outside consultants and law firms to conduct the investigations?… Read More...