Are there commonly used guidelines for investigating incidents in the workplace associated with disturbing employee conduct?
Well, Rule #1--talk to your human resource manager or other adviser to you don't blow this one. That being said, investigations follow a logical path to gather information about an event so that a reliable conclusion about what happened can be drawn. You must start of thinking that you are on a hopscotch. You're going to take it one square at a time.
Many organizations have specific procedures to follow concerning things like sexual harassment and other severe events, so inquire about how to conduct these types of investigations.
Generally speaking, consider these steps when investigating other conduct-related incidents: First, notify your supervisor about any incident you think needs investigating. Next, interview parties separately, and in private (ask for all details, and ask for the names of any witnesses). Create a written list of your questions so things stay consistent. Third, keep the information you collect confidential from others you interview - persons involved in an investigation are not entitled to the results of your interviews. Fourth, do not form opinions as you investigate - just write down exactly what is said and move quickly in your investigation; and fifth, arrive at a conclusion - do not disclose the nature of administrative or disciplinary actions, if any, to complainants or witnesses. With this information, discuss your findings with a confidentially approved party. That could be an attorney, but do not forget your employee assistance program professional. Lots of confidentiality there. This might be your final stop before a decision or taking the results to the next level of management.