Bernadette Sargeant Evaluates Need for Outside Counsel in Workplace Investigations in HR Daily Advisor

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Stinson LLP Partner Bernadette Sargeant authored an article for HR Daily Advisor, "When Hiring Outside Counsel Is a Good Investment."

The article examines the increase in workplace complaints requiring investigations as employers continue to transition back to in-person work and analyzes the investment employers are placing on outside counsel investigations to help solve complex personnel problems and improve workplace culture.

Sargeant also provides insight on knowing when to hire outside counsel to conduct an internal workplace investigation. "As 2023 has brought outside economic challenges and uncertainty, many employers are relying more on Human Resources to conduct investigations. In other circumstances, hiring outside counsel to conduct an internal workplace investigation is the better approach. The key is knowing when an outside investigation is warranted."

She says there are situations that "nearly always" warrant investment in outside counsel, including:

  • Allegations involving high-level executives or individuals above human resources in the organization's reporting structure.
  • Allegations involving claims against human resources.
  • Allegations involving a recurring problem that has been resistant to change.

"Hiring outside counsel can bring training and experience with analyzing and reporting on detailed facts in a manner that will highlight areas for improvement if the allegations are substantiated," Sargeant states. "If the allegations are not substantiated, those findings carry more weight when they have been made by an outside counsel's investigation."

Sargeant has extensive trial experience and experience conducting sensitive internal investigations. She provides practical, efficient and insightful counseling and advice to clients needing to address workplace situations in real time. Her employment and white-collar litigation experience, as well as her time as counsel to several government agencies, combine to make her an ideal workplace investigator.

Read the full article.

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Abigail Schoenrade
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