There is often conflict in the workplace. Sometimes it is merely miscommunication; other times there are stylistic or value differences that rub different people the wrong way. My experience with management is that most often they don’t really know how to deal effectively with conflict and so either ignores it, hoping it will go away, or they try to play Solomon (Judge and Jury) to resolve it themselves with limited information.
The process of gathering information is often contaminated by the belief that the person accused of wrongdoing is guilty and the bias is in favor of gathering only that information which would support a finding of guilt. This happens all too often. It is so easy to believe the person issuing the first complaint. Evidence that would disprove the allegations is often described in investigative reports as “denies” or “lies”.
I’ve seen people lose their jobs primarily due to a “rush to judgment” accompanied by a biased investigation. Perceptions differ. What is reported to you might not be exactly what happened. It is only by creating a totally neutral process that you can sometimes find out the facts. Conducting these investigations takes skill and often an outsider to the process.
Too, if the allegations are of silly, teasing, or fairly mild behavior or misunderstandings, instead of conducting an investigation you might consider having expert mediation – bringing the parties together to work out their differences. Quite often, with the proper help, a simple explanation and apology is all that’s needed.