What Makes a Qualified Workplace Investigator?

Ensuring that workplace investigations are conducted with integrity and in good faith is of paramount importance.  In order to achieve that objective, employers must utilize an experienced, objective and neutral party who is skilled at soliciting and identifying appropriate information and evidence, questioning individuals, identifying key issues, and knowledgeable about relevant aspects of the law.

In addition, such person must be able to promptly and thoroughly gather the facts so the investigating organization can find solutions to its workplace concerns and, if necessary, take appropriate corrective action in a timely manner.  In other words, the investigator you select must be able to “drop everything” he or she was working on in order to devote nearly all of his or her time thereafter to thoroughly investigating the alleged misconduct until the investigation is concluded.

What Qualities Should You Look For in a Workplace Investigator?

The following list of knowledge, skills, and abilities are critical when selecting a qualified investigator to conduct an investigation of alleged workplace misconduct.  Specifically, your organization should look for an individual who:

 

  • Has prior experience conducting workplace investigations
  • Understands the applicable law governing the employer’s legal obligations with regard to workplace investigations and with regard to other issues often implicated by workplace investigations (e.g., privacy issues, confidentiality, retaliation, documentation and evidentiary issues, etc.)
  • Has sufficient knowledge of the law applicable to the alleged misconduct
  • Has sufficient ability to recogize key issues, including the need to bring in additional resources when appropriate
  • Knows or is able to gain a good understanding of the employer’s practices, policies, and culture
  • Has good interviewing skills
  • Understands the purpose and scope of the investigation
  • Would be effective as a witness on the employer’s behalf
  • Is able communicate with ease with employees at every level (from top executives to line employees) regarding sensitive topics
  • Is credible and respected as well as being able to be both objective and impartial
  • Demonstrates both actual fairness as well as the perception of fairness to all those who are involved
  • Is able to maintain confidentiality (to the extent possible)
  • Pays attention to detail, resolves inconsistencies, addresses open issues and prepares good documentation
  • Is capable of anticipating and effectively addressing issues that could arise subsequently, including in the event of litigation
  • Can weigh competing and conflicting information to make objective findings of fact
  • Can organize issues and evidence and present their written findings clearly, and
  • If requested to do so, can make appropriate recommendations to the decision-maker(s) and support it

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To learn more about how we can help your organization respond to issues of alleged workplace misconduct, please contact one of our Beverly Hills Attorney Workplace Investigators either by email or by telephone at (310) 426-2650.