An internal investigation is an important mechanism an organization can use to address an allegation of wrongdoing, determine legal liability, identify individuals or parties with culpability, comply with regulatory requirements, develop corrective measures and enhance operational efficiencies. Buckner is pleased to continue its blog series highlighting best practices, strategies and techniques that can be used by organizational leaders and counsel during an internal investigation. Today’s post will review how to prevent internal organizational issues and politics from influencing the direction and outcome of an internal investigation.
An investigator should be mindful of all internal politics, concerns and issues that can impact, affect or influence the direction, scope or outcome of an internal investigation. If not, the target of the investigation could question the motives and objectivity of the inquiry. Internal politics takes many forms. For example, Strategywise HR, in a blog post series (“Inside HR – Challenges with Internal Workplace Investigations”), notes a “conflict of interest may exist – either in dealing with complaints against management who ranks higher than the person investigating or when there are differing views on the approach and the seriousness of a complaint, objectivity can be compromised”. All conflicts should be addressed immediately, so any perceived or actual influences can be eliminated and resolved before it becomes an issue. An investigator that does not or cannot do the right thing can “derail efforts to investigate or effectively skew the results of an internal investigation altogether”, which can “render the investigation flawed exposing” the organization “to significant liabilities”.
Sources: Michael L. Buckner, Athletics Investigation Handbook; Strategywise HR, Inside HR (Part 1) – Challenges with Internal Workplace Investigations, available at: http://www.strategywisehr.ca/2015/05/challenges-with-internal-investigations.html#sthash.JJ8X7oey.dpuf.
Contact attorney Michael L. Buckner (+1-954-941-1844; firstname.lastname@example.org) for additional information on conducting internal investigations and intelligence-gathering.