How To Conduct Workplace and Employee Relations Investigations


How do you begin an investigation? Then, how do you begin the interview? What questions do you ask? How do you know when you have all the accurate facts? What do you tell (or not) to a witness? How do you determine that all witnesses have been forthcoming? Alternatively, have not purposefully been given misrepresentations of the facts? If you are talking to someone to find out what they know, that you do not - how would you know what information if any that a witness distorted, left out or used to misinform purposefully? How is an investigator to know the difference between someone's inaccurate recollections vs. purposeful misrepresentation? How do you end an investigation? What do you tell (or not tell) employees? How do you know what to write in the report or keep the files?

From fact-finding to writing reports, at the end of this seminar you will be a much more competent, effective, and confident investigator, able to handle company problems and limit your company's legal liability.

Why should you attend:

From fact-finding to writing reports, this hands on 2 day seminar will cover the dos and don'ts of conducting workplace investigations so you can gain the confidence to be a competent and effective investigator. The first day includes learning combined with crucial exercises. The second day is a Mock Investigation where unlike in the real world, you can learn in an environment where mistakes don't have consequences.

Employers conduct investigations for a variety of reasons; employee complaints, background checks, allegations of misconduct, losses of various types. The shared primary purpose of these investigations is the same - to find out the facts of a situation to determine a course of action to take - or not to take.

In these investigations, employers often depend heavily upon employee's recollections. Most employees will do their best to be forthcoming, and recount truthful and factual information to the best of their abilities.

In the beloved children's book, Charlotte's Web, deceptive action from the spider Charlotte resulted in a happy ending. In the real world workplace, deception, omission and interference often have the unhappy result of someone being reprimanded or retaliated against for conduct they didn't do or in which they didn't participate. For others who should have been held accountable but were not, the conduct often continues on, in some ways rewarding them and encouraging a repeat of the conduct.

Sir Walter Scott stated, "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive." In an investigation, it can difficult to determine what are the truthful facts when information is purposefully withheld (omissions), false information is purposefully inferred (deception) or when false information is purposefully provided (falsehoods). Such tactics interfere with an investigation.

An investigator also needs to know how to write a good case report. Because just as a good investigation defends the actions an employer took or not, the report supports the Company that decision-making (or not.)

Who will benefit:

  • Any Manager
  • Supervisor
  • HR Professional
  • HR Generalist
  • Employee Relations persons
  • Small Business Owners


Day One

Lecture 1: Laying The Foundation:
  • Root Causes Of Investigations
  • Untangling Problems - Determining If A Manager Resolves A Problem Vs Reporting To HR
  • Education and Reporting - Adding To Your Existing Training So Investigations And Problem Solving Are Smoother
  • Mediating Employee Relations Problems That Are Not Investigations
Exercise - Resolve vs Report?
Lecture 2: Overview of How Federal Laws Impact Investigations
  • Harassment and Discrimination
  • Safety
  • Disability
  • Retaliation
  • Wage and Hour
  • National Labor Relations Act
  • Union Workplaces
Exercise - Social Media Discussion - What to Do and What Not To Do
Lecture 3: Processes and Practices
  • 10 Step Strategic Process For Investigations
  • Types Of Evidence And Evidence Handling
  • Reviewing Documentation
  • Documentation Do’s and Don’ts
  • How To Take Good Notes
  • Constructing Solid, Factual Questions
Group Activity - Joe Falls Off a Ladder. What To Do and How To Investigate.
Lecture 4: Interviewing Witnesses
  • Staging An Interview
  • Starting An Interview
  • How to Get People to Talk to You
  • Body Language
  • Disgruntled, Reluctant, Untruthful and Hostile Witnesses
  • Ending An Interview
  • Second Interviews
Exercise - Interviewing a Reluctant Witness
Lecture 5: Report Writing
  • Before You Start Writing - Reviewing Your Investigation
  • Elements of a Good Report
  • What Goes Where? What to Use and What To Leave Out of Your Report
  • Formatting a Professional Report
Lecture 6: Closing The Investigation
  • The 4 Findings
    • Determining What Is A Malicious Complaint and Just As Important- What Is Not
  • Need to Know vs Want To Know
  • Investigation Communications to Appropriate Parties
  • Following Up - Closing The Loop
    • Monitoring For Retaliation. Not If It Happens But When and Where.
Exercise - Conducting a Complainant's Closure Meeting and Class Wrap Up

Day Two

Lecture 1: Mock Investigation - When Sally Met Harold
  • Taking The Complaint
    • Asking Follow-up Questions
  • Determining The Situation and Allegations
    • Dividing The Initial Elements of The Complaint
    • Determine if Intermediate Action is Required
  • Reviewing Initial Evidence
  • Getting Ready To Interview
  • Determining Witnesses
  • Constructing Questions
  • Interviewing Witnesses
  • Interviewing the Accused
  • Determining if Second Interviews Are Needed
  • Review The Evidence
  • Determination Of Credibility
    • Defending Your Credibility Decisions
    • Your Finding(s)
  • Writing The Report
    • What Goes In and What’s Left Out
  • Class Wrap Up


Richmond, VA    |    February 26th & 27th, 2015$795.00   (Seminar for One Delegate)

Register now and save $200. (Early Bird)
Until January 20, Early Bird Price: $795.00    From January 21 to February 24, Regular Price: $995.00

SFO, CA    |    March 26th & 27th, 2015$795.00   (Seminar for One Delegate)

Register now and save $200. (Early Bird)
Until February 20, Early Bird Price: $795.00    From February 21 to March 24, Regular Price: $995.00

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