OIG is excited to announce that Amy Oppenheimer and Lindsay Harris’ article, “Attorneys Conducting Impartial Workplace Investigations: Reclaiming the Independent Lawyer Role,” made the cover page of the California Labor & Employment Law Review.
This article addresses a key issue being challenged by some regarding the practice of investigations: that the role of an investigator is to be neutral, even when the attorney-client privilege applies. Congratulations, Amy and Lindsay, for preparing this article with thoughtfulness, meticulous detail, and sound legal support.
[Note: This article first appeared in the California Labor & Employment Law Review, Volume 36, Number 5, September 2022. Reprinted with permission of the California Lawyers Association and the California Labor & Employment Law Review.]
Workplace investigations have become a substantial and distinct practice area for California employment law attorneys. Employers are mandated to and risk liability if they fail to conduct impartial investigations of discrimination and harassment.
As a result, many employment lawyers have fled the grind of litigation to embrace a new role as independent workplace investigators.
This article, which is available on the California Lawyers Association website for MCLE Self-Study, explores the role of the independent attorney investigator as fact finder and addresses questions regarding whether an attorney hired by a company (the client) can truly be impartial in the execution of her duties. The authors explore the nuances between the concepts of “impartial,” “objective” and “independent” in the context of workplace investigations and debunk common misconceptions about the attorney-client relationship as applied to limited scope representations.
Additionally, the article addresses ethical obligations including the appropriate standard of care an investigator should employ and a company’s need to balance transparency with the confidential nature of most investigations.
Read the full article: “Attorneys Conducting Impartial Workplace Investigations: Reclaiming the Independent Lawyer Role”