Critical investigation follow-up

April 6, 2015       The NonProfit Times      

Just as no job is finished until the paperwork is done, so is no internal investigation finished until follow-up procedures have been taken. That was the advice offered during the 2014 Nonprofit Risk Summit by Frank M. Pawlak, an attorney with more than 30 years representing management in labor and employment law.

  •  Just as workplace investigations require adherence to procedures, so should the following take place. On the conclusion of the interview with the accused employee:
  • Review the answers with the interviewee;
  • Instruct the interviewee to get back with any additional information;
  • Re-emphasize confidentiality; and,
  • Explain how the investigation will proceed forward.

When it comes to conclusion and determinations:

  • Review corroborating evidence and circumstantial evidence and assess the interviewees’ credibility

Issues to review:

  •  Were any policies, guidelines or practices violated?
  • What was done in the past with similar incidents?
  •  How long has the employee been employed?
  • Has the employee violated any other policies in the past?
  • What is the employee’s employment history?
  • Are there any other mitigating circumstances?

There is also an investigation summary:

  • Investigation background
  • Application of guidelines or practices
  • Key factual findings of investigation

Conclusion

Documentation Maintenance:

  • A separate “Confidential” file;
  •  Investigator notes;
  • “Final” versions of documents; and,
  • Computer files and emails.