Can we discipline employees for talking about a workplace investigation?
Blanket confidentiality rules may not be legal.
I work in the HR department of a large company. I've been helping to investigate a sexual harassment complaint in our regional office. I was recently told that several employees -- whom we interviewed as potential witnesses to the alleged harassment -- have been talking to each other and to other employees about the investigation. Our standard investigation paperwork instructs employees that the investigation is confidential, and cautions them that talking about it could lead to discipline. Can we discipline these employees? Should we?