Senior HR Investigator

City of Seattle - Seattle, WA

The Human Resources Investigations Unit (HRIU) is a new team within the Seattle Department of Human Resources, created by the Mayor's Executive Order regarding harassment and discrimination. The HRIU is charged with conducting equitable, consistent, timely, thorough, and empathetic intakes, investigations, and communications with a focus on conflict resolution and employee satisfaction.

The Senior HR Investigator is the first line of communication with City of Seattle employees. This is an incredible opportunity to provide a compassionate and effective resource for City employees, so they can do their best work. As this is a new program, the Sr. HR Investigator will have the exciting opportunity to work collaboratively to shape processes and determine best practices for workplace investigations and employee experience.

This is a highly-specialized role, requiring specialized knowledge and technical proficiency, particularly when performing the day to day functions of conducting intake or investigation activities, including drafting reports and communicating findings. The successful Sr. HR Investigator will enjoy juggling multiple tasks throughout a typical day, which may include scheduling and handling intake interviews, conducting ongoing active investigations, addressing conflicts between employees, collaborating with HR representatives across the City of Seattle, Law Department, Senior HR Leadership, and more.

This position will report to the HRIU Director.

Job Responsibilities:
This role is highly independent, requiring technical decision-making with limited oversight. This Sr. HR Investigator's reports and advice will be heavily relied upon by the department in making policy decisions impacting employees. These issues are often highly sensitive, political, and with public visibility.

Key Responsibilities will include:
Manage and track multiple intake and investigations at any given time with competing priorities, while handling other projects simultaneously.
Conduct intakes and effectively understand from the nature of the concerns raised, whether the City or department are implicated, and make recommendations whether the HRIU should initiate an investigation or not, or to refer the matter back to the department or other agency, as appropriate.
Identify the relevant scope of complaints of violation of City policy, determine the evidentiary basis and applicable evidence to determine whether alleged misconduct occurred, using legal standards of proof, and whether facts support a determination that City policies were violated.
Work collaboratively with the Law Department and coordinate with HR staff in home departments for coordinating or conducting all investigative activities and delivering workplace investigation services across the City in a consistent, fair, and equitable manner.
Required to identify appropriate computer forensic data and information, for example, as well as understand how to interpret employee information and data.
Analyze whether City policies or practices have a disparate impact on any given protected group, or whether any given behavior violates Citywide Values and Expectations, Departmental Workplace Expectations, and/or the City of Seattle Race & Social Justice Initiative.
Report writing and documentation of intake and investigation activities.
Provide testimony in court as a subject matter expert on Citywide investigations, specific to City workplace investigations processes generally and any given investigation report issued.
Lead and/or participate in trainings on workplace investigations.

You will be most successful if you have demonstrated significant, progressively responsible experience and expertise in employment law, employee relations, investigations, human resources, civil rights advocacy, legal advocacy and/or mediation / alternative dispute resolution. A commitment to anti-racist work, racial equity and social justice and improving workplace culture must be at the center of your professional practice. The ability to be empathetic, consistent and timely will be essential. The ability to work collaboratively and communicate diplomatically at all levels will contribute to your success.

Specifically, you'll be prepared to take on this role if you demonstrate:

Experience in:
Conducting intake or investigation activities in the Public Sector.
Drafting reports and communicating findings.
Scheduling and handling intake interviews.
Conducting ongoing active investigations.
Using multiple approaches such as restorative practices, centering and empowering the most affected, finding resolutions outside the legal definitions of discrimination and harassment, and creating accountability measures.
Utilizing trauma-informed care strategies during the investigation process.

A demonstrated commitment to:
Race & Social Justice analysis with an emphasis on Anti-Racist & Anti-Racism practices.
Conducting equitable, consistent, timely, thorough, and empathetic intakes, investigations, and communications.
Considering the racialized experience of people involved in instances of discrimination and harassment and trying to resolve racial inequities while addressing white supremacy culture and structural racism.
Establishing accountability for the application of the Race and Social Justice Initiative for departments and leaders, to create more inclusive leadership practices.
Conflict resolution and employee satisfaction.

Substantial skills in:
Empathy, sympathy and emotional intelligence.
Verbal and written communication skills.
Time management skills and ability to be adaptable.
Attention to detail for documentation and report writing and note taking.
Creative thinking, exceptional problem solving, and good judgment.
Public speaking.
Being accessible and transparent.

Knowledge and Understanding of:
Deep understanding of EEO, HR, and employment laws and policies.
Public sector employment rules and Labor Relations principles.
Conflict resolution or alternative dispute resolution experience is beneficial.
Participants' life experience (specifically people who are customarily marginalized) and modeling an intersectional approach within the creation and application of recommendations.
Treating systems like systems, people like people, and differentiating between information (objects) and people (subjects).

Additional Information:
This position is classified as a Strategic Advisor II – Exempt.

To be considered for this position, please submit your complete application, resume, and cover letter at no later than 4:00 PM Pacific Time on Tuesday October 29, 2019. In your cover letter, please clearly describe how your knowledge, skills, and abilities prepare you for the job responsibilities and qualifications outlined in this job announcement.

Who may apply: The City of Seattle encourages people of all backgrounds to apply, including people of color, immigrants, refugees, women, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, veterans, and those with diverse life experience. This position is open to all qualified candidates that meet the minimum qualifications. The City of Seattle values diverse perspectives and life experiences. Applicants will be considered regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, marital status, disability, religious or political affiliation, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Questions? Please contact Nicolette Hornbeck at

To learn more about Seattle Department of Human Resources, please visit: