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TRU professor’s book focuses on workplace probes

We Have Received A Complaint was written by Matt Malone
Matt Malone’s book, We Have Received A Complaint, is available online at and at Chapters and Amazon.

A new book by Thompson Rivers University law professor and workplace investigator Matt Malone has taken aim at the lack of transparency among employers who pay for investigative work to be done.

Malone conducts workplace investigations in the United States, mainly in the tech sector, for clients in Silicon Valley. At TRU, his research centres around legal protections of secret and confidential information, as well as privacy.

While Malone’s book, We Have Received A Complaint, was released nine months after the conclusion of TRU’s workplace investigation into two senior administrators, he said he arrived in Kamloops in the midst of that inquiry and it wasn’t what prompted the work.

“I do talk about the TRU investigation a little bit, but only using public documents and sources. I’m not involved in that investigation in any respect,” he said.

Nonetheless, Malone called Kamloops “investigation central,” pointing to the ongoing mayor-council conflict at city hall as a further example.

In his book, Malone cites a number of prominent workplace investigations to make his point, including the sexual harassment allegations made against then-New York governor Andrew Cuomo in 2020 and complaints involving toxic workplace culture against Canada’s former governor general, Julie Payette, in 2021.

“What these examples speak to is the broader phenomenon. Workplace investigations are everywhere now. They’re having a moment,” he said.

Malone said he wrote the 96-page book for a general audience, particularly those who have found themselves thrust into an investigation and want a better understanding of what is happening. In the book, Malone argues workplace investigations must be more agile, less formal and use more common sense.

“The employer ultimately pays for the investigator to do the work and, often, the investigator is a lawyer, which means any of the work product that is done, can be subject to attorney-client privilege,” he said.

Malone said he doesn’t want to see workplace investigations turned into an instrument of politics and power and he believes more transparency will help to keep that from happening.

“The employer can choose not to disclose any of the material,” he said, pointing to a previous study done among Fortune 100 companies that showed only 17 per cent of those organizations chose to share investigation outcomes with employees.

“You’ve seen that happen to certain extents. TRU redacted a lot of the report they published. And we’re not talking about just redactions to protect private information — we’re talking about wide, sweeping, broad redactions.”

While each instance of redactions or non-disclosure of reports can have an impact on individual complainants and respondents, Malone said he is also worried about the bigger picture, seeing trends toward secrecy among employers.

“In my view, it will be up to legislatures to really put the guardrails on this process. If that doesn’t happen, what will end up happening is the tendency by employers to favour their commercial interests, which often falls on the side of non-disclosure,” he said.

In his commentary on the Cuomo case, Malone noted “transparency can respond to the public interest in ways that secrecy never can.”

We Have Received a Complaint was published by Sutherland Quarterly, a new series featuring essays on current affairs by Canadian writers. The book is available through the publisher’s website at and through major retailers, including Chapters and Amazon.