Just last week, I was retained by a company who retained an external HR consultant to conduct workplace investigations. Putting aside the fact that the HR consultant had not handled the various employment issues correctly, I had the unfortunate task of informing the employer that the HR’s consultant is not legally permitted to conduct such investigations.
Below, I’ll discuss workplace investigations in California and who is allowed to conduct them. If you’re looking for help with an employment issue or conducting a workplace investigation at your company, feel free to contact my office. I have more than 30 years of experience defending employers throughout Southern California, and I look forward to hearing from you about your case.
Workplace Investigations in California
Investigations of workplace misconduct, such as sexual harassment, are conducted by a variety of professionals, including internal human resource staff, in-house attorneys, external human resource consultants, external attorneys or private investigators.
Although in-house staff may conduct investigations in California, special rules apply when a California employer chooses to hire an external investigator.
Under the California Business and Professions Code Section 7520-7539, an external consultant hired to conduct a workplace investigation must be either a state-licensed private investigator or a state-licensed attorney.
Human resource consultants who are not licensed attorneys or private investigators cannot legally conduct such investigations.