FAQ & Other Resources

Why does Human Resources Investigations Unit exist?

The Mayor's Executive Order, 2018-04 created the Human Resources Investigations Unit (HRIU) to improve the City's response to discrimination, harassment, and misconduct allegations. The HRIU conducts intake, investigations, and findings for most of the City's 12,000+ employees. The HRIU also creates and provides citywide training on numerous topics.

What is a workplace investigation?

Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) investigations at the City of Seattle are listed under Personnel Rule 1.1, which addresses harassment, discrimination and retaliation. It also includes certain types of serious misconduct.

What does EEO involve?

An employer that follows EEO best practices will make employment decisions based on valid job-related requirements. Employment decisions include the hiring process, discipline, performance reviews, promotions, termination, and more. Put another way, employment decisions should be based on legitimate nondiscriminatory factors, and not because of an employee's protected class (i.e., race, sex, age, disability, religion).

What is needed for a good EEO investigation?

Personnel Rule 1.1.5B(1) states that the investigation should be "fair, complete and impartial." A fair investigation will likely include interviews with the Reporter, Subject and relevant witnesses. It also means that, where relevant, those interviewed will be notified of their right to union representation.

PR 1.1.5B(2) states that "the investigator shall interview the Reporter and Subject and any other person(s) whom the investigator has reason to believe has information directly related to the complaint or the investigation thereof." During a fair and complete investigation, the investigator will have obtained, kept, and reviewed relevant investigation materials. The investigator also creates an objective or impartial investigation report based on their findings, and provides copies to the Reporter, Subject, and the department's appointing authority.

PR 1.1.5B(3) states that "the investigator shall ensure any employee's right to union representation." PR 1.1.5B(4) states that "the investigator shall maintain investigation records and prepare an investigation report for the appointing authority." The Reporter and Subject should also be provided a copy of the investigation report.

Why conduct workplace investigations?

A workplace is a balance of resources. Employees provide a service in exchange for fair treatment and pay. Management assigns and directs work, and can discipline an employee who is not performing to expectations. If an employee believes they have been subjected to an unfair or illegal employment practice, they can request an impartial, fair and complete investigation.

Apart from HRIU, what other resources are available?

Alternative Dispute Resolution - Alternative Dispute Resolution - Human Resources | seattle.gov

Office of Employee Ombud - Office of the Ombud - Ombud | seattle.gov

Civil Service Commission - Civil Service Commission - Civil Service Commission | seattle.gov

Employee Assistance Program - City of Seattle - Personnel Department - Benefits Information

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission -  https://www.eeoc.gov/field-office/washington/location