UPS Pays the Price for a Rumour

Last week in the Metro, the importance of conducting a neutral workplace investigation was underscored in Daniel Lublin’s article, “Sloppy send off ends in a lawsuit”.
After 21 years at UPS, with retirement on the horizon, Wally Lysecky was fired for accepting kickbacks he never accepted.  Following the rumours, he was placed on suspension, and an internal investigation was conducted.  Despite a lack of incriminating evidence, Lysecky was fired, creating the illusion that the company’s suspicions were validated.
At trial, the investigation was deemed “perfunctory”, meaning that the outcome was biased by the opinions of those involved.  The court overturned the dismissal and awarded Lysecky almost a year’s pay, plus 20K for any damage caused to his reputation.
In challenging workplace investigations, employers should do all that they can to remain impartial.  Consider hiring a lawyer or a third party investigator; as Daniel Lublin states, “even the appearance of partiality can undo the results” of an investigation.