Heard it on the Hotline: Can Employers Require Confidentiality During an Investigation?

November 09, 2021
Publication
MRA Edge
HR Compliance
Employee & Labor Relations
Read time: 1 min

Investigations can be tricky, especially when they involve multiple employees and sensitive topics. Whether or not there is union representation at your company, there are several employment issues that fall under NLRB governance. Workplace investigations may be one of those areas, under certain circumstances.

Q. If a company is conducting an internal investigation due to an employee complaint, can the company require employees involved in the investigation to maintain confidentiality?

A. Yes, during the investigation process. 2019 ruling by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found that during the duration of the investigation, an employer can require participants keep the conversations confidential to help maintain the integrity of the investigation. After the conclusion of the investigation, however, the employer can no longer mandate confidentiality as it may impact an employee’s protected, concerted activity under the NLRA.