Labor: When managers file internal complaints against subordinates

Companies must handle the matter delicately

Most internal employment-related complaints fall into one of two categories: either an employee files a complaint against a peer, or an employee files a complaint against his or her supervisor or another manager. Most companies have ample experience in investigating these sorts of complaints.

Far fewer companies have experience investigating complaints made by supervisors or managers against subordinates. The relative scarcity of such complaints does not mean they do not arise, however, nor does it mean a company can ignore them. Complaints by supervisors against subordinates pose unique issues that, if not considered and addressed effectively, can create significant problems. Let’s examine a few of these issues.

Does the typical investigator need to change?

Most companies assign internal investigations to one of two individuals: a human resources employee with training and experience in conducting investigations, or a manager in the same department as the accuser and the accused, who knows the players and can seek guidance from HR.

Contributing Author

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Craig Oliver

Craig Oliver is a partner with Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP (Nashville, Tenn.) and serves as vice-chair of the firm’s Labor and Employment Practice. His...

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