Independent corporate investigations are an investment in their companies. It’s not hard to understand why a corporation would want to minimize the impact of a corporate crisis. Corporate crises come in many forms, and all of them have undeniable effects on the workplace, corporate culture, and the bottom line. That’s why employers must be vigilant of problems within their workplaces, address those problems with independent corporate investigations, and foster an environment where there is an open dialogue to address pervasive issues within the workplace.
Ignoring a corporate crisis will not ensure the problem will go away. The idea of “letting it blow over,” does not guarantee the problem will not occur again. Pervasive, repeated patterns of corporate crises are indicative of a deeper error in the company’s operations. Only by addressing the root of these issues can a company hope to avoid these problems from repeating in the future. Many companies do have shareholders and other interests to protect, but ultimately, the issue must be addressed in order to avoid further losses. That’s why it’s crucial for employers to know when it’s time to hire a private investigator for their corporate investigation.
There are many reasons bribery may occur within a business. Perhaps an employee is offering cash to an inspector to buy their silence on certain violations on their worksite. The same could be said of an employee who bribes a government representative in exchange for the same discretion. If not exposed, not only can this cause infinite negative ripple effects within the corporation, but if caught, the parties responsible can incur costly penalties, and possible prosecution. In order to prevent these losses, both financial and in public relations, employers must trigger a corporate investigation.
A break-in, or other theft from the workplace should not be treated as an isolated incident. It’s imperative that a corporate investigation can be triggered so the void in security operations can be filled and prevent further losses. If the corporation’s security system requires and update, or if perimeter fences need to be reinforced, those items must be addressed. Thieves will continue to slip through the cracks if they’re not properly patched.
White Collar Crime
White collar crime specifically refers to when crimes like bribery and theft occur at an executive level, denoting the perpetrator’s level of access and perceived credibility within the company. They are elevated crimes and have some of the strongest potential to devastate a company or organization. White collar crime can be tricky to investigate, as most procedures for investigating misconduct would likely come across the executive’s desk. That’s why employers should consider the discretion of a private investigator for this type of corporate investigation.
When there is a breach in your company’s cybersecurity, there must be swift and competent intervention. Your company’s webmasters and I.T. professionals work hard, and there are going to be breaches that they do not know how to address, either due to the sophistication of the breach, or their limited experience with certain types of breaches. When a hacker can invade your company’s website or intranet, those are major patches that must take place as soon as possible. Think of a breach like a wound, and from that open wound, the corporation can continue to leak data, industry secrets, or actual profits. Your corporate investigation must include an investigator with a diverse discipline who can answer crucial questions about the breach—the who, why, and how of the breach, and whether or not the threat is still present and ongoing, or if there has been a proverbial “smash and grab” of the intranet. Skilled investigators will have the appropriate tools and methodology to address these issues and get employers the answers they need.
Repeated instances of discrimination or sexual harassment are systemic issues that must be addressed in order to prevent costly turnover, training, and decline in corporate culture. Discrimination and harassment not only have internal costs, but can wind up costing the company thousands in legal fees and potentially millions in settlement money if patterns of abuse can be proven in civil court. Discrimination and harassment also have a disastrous effect on workplace culture as targets of the abuse become fearful or uncomfortable in their jobs and the perpetrators continue the same cycle of abuse that causes losses in turnover and loss of employee engagement. Patterns of abuse like this demand a corporate investigation, not only for the sake of the bottom line, but also for the individuals involved.
Knowledge of Imminent State or Federal Investigation
Upon receipt of a federal subpoena or other indication that there will be an investigation into your business by a government entity, many employers find it prudent to get out ahead of the bureaucratic red tape and get a comprehensive picture of what the government is likely to find. This can lead to prescient legal or public relations strategies that may go a long way in remedying the situation. A corporate investigation into the internal staff, operations, and policies can prepare you for what the investigating agency may find when they comb through the corporation.
Fraud can occur at any level of the employment structure, from entry-level positions all the way up to executives. The strategy for approaching a corporate investigation concerning fraud should change depending on the scope of the fraud and the culprit. This means hiring a corporate investigator with a sophisticated understanding of fraud investigations and how to document the evidence in those cases. Without clear answers and professional solutions to fraud, employers simply don’t know what they don’t know. The act of contracting an independent third party to investigate also makes it more difficult for the perpetrator to cover up their actions.
When facing a civil, criminal, or commercial court case, corporations must apply the same methodology when reacting to an impending investigation by a government body. Independent internal corporate investigations not only provide a veneer of transparency by the corporation in question, but also provides them with an idea of what the plaintiff in the case could conceivably find and use against the defendant in court. This prevents the corporation from being blindsided in an already litigious situation. The more information the corporation has, the better prepared it will be to defend itself.
Whistleblowers are every company’s worst nightmare, because not all corporations have operations in place for the contingency of a whistleblower. Thus, when an employee comes forward about misconduct or another internal matter to the press, the fallout can be embarrassing and devastating to the company. Corporate investigations into whistleblowing claims are good-faith efforts to address the concerns raised by the whistleblower in an objective manner. Hiring a private investigator for this corporate investigation can also be a sign of transparency on behalf of the corporation. Comprehensive corporate investigations can also shed light on other issues that might have otherwise been subjected to whistleblowing. Leadership can swiftly intervene and address any problems that might be occurring within their business or organization.
Knowing when to trigger a corporate investigation can be half the battle. Trust your instincts, and remember that it’s better to be prudent than proud when it comes to your corporate crisis. If you’re in need of a corporate investigation, call Lauth Investigations International today for a free consultation on our corporate investigation services. Call 317-951-1100 today or visit us online at www.lauthinveststg.wpengine.com.
Nursing home abuse is a heinous crime in which residents of long-term care facilities are subjected to neglect, abuse, and dehumanizing treatment at the hands of their abusers. One of the most undoubtedly vulnerable swaths of the populations are the elderly and infirm. People who have lived long, full lives, but now require extra help with caring for themselves. Some families are fortunate enough to be able to afford in-home care for their aging parents, grandparents, or loved ones. However, many families have to face the difficult decision to place their elderly and infirm loved ones in a nursing home, hospice, or another type of long-term care facility.
The statistics surrounding nursing home abuse are alarming, even under the most forgiving of parameters. A 2012 study found that around 85% of assisted living facilities reported at least a single case of abuse or neglect on behalf of caregivers. That’s not counting cases that go unnoticed or unreported. The decision to place loved ones in a long-term care facility is already a difficult one, with hand-wringing families left wondering whether or not their loved one will be cared for well and how they will fare inside. Families may spend weeks, if not months, exercising due-diligence and vetting potential care facilities in order to ensure that their families get the best of care. However, sometimes families can still be caught off-guard when allegations of nursing home abuse arise after they’ve placed their loved ones.
Nursing home abuse can take multiple forms, and it’s important that families and professionals educate themselves in order to be advocates for the residents. These are problems that are often caused by operational issues within the facility itself, such as poor hiring processes, understaffing, improper training, and burnout amongst caretakers. There is also a myriad of socioeconomic and financial factors that can further exacerbate these problems. That is why it’s important for facility administration and families alike to know the signs of nursing home abuse so there can be swift and diligent intervention.
Physical abuse: Nursing home staff directly and physically abuse residents with acts like, pushing, kicking, pinching, or even manipulating their medication. This type of abuse is typically the easiest to recognize, but is also the greatest threat to their person.
Signs: Bruises, burns, welts, bedsores, pressure ulcers, cuts, lacerations, broken bones, head/dental injuries, dehydration, malnutrition, repetitive bouts of illness or infection, poor personal hygiene.
Emotional abuse: This type of abuse includes demeaning and humiliating patients, and also keeping their friends and family at arms-length in order to isolate them from other points of contact that might expose abuse. Despite the lack of physicality in this type of abuse, affected residents can develop severe anxiety and depression as a result.
Signs: Anxiety, depression, change in personality, exhibition of aggressive or violent behavior, substance abuse, suicidal ideation/actions.
Nursing home neglect: Abuse doesn’t have to be direct in order to have harmful effects. When residents are left unattended, typically to disorganization and understaffing.
Signs: bedsores, malnutrition or dehydration, unchanged clothes and filthy bedsheets, new or worsening infections.
Sexual abuse: However horrifying it sounds, residents in nursing homes and long-term care facilities can also be the targets of sexual battery or abuse. Nursing home residents are some of the most vulnerable in the population, and are more likely to be abused due to their inability to fight back, articulate consent, and inability to disclose.
Signs: Bruises or welts around the genitals, unexplainable STDs, inappropriate physical contact with staff.
Financial abuse: For a myriad of reasons, residents of nursing homes might be unable to manage their own finances. This makes them a prime target for scammers and abusers. Putting aside the petty theft that can take place where caretakers take small items of value from their rooms, financial abuse can also occur on a much larger scale in the form of check fraud.
Signs: Strange bank transactions or charges, new credit cards or bank accounts in the resident’s name, or a new change in power of attorney.
When it comes to finding proof of nursing home abuse, it can be tricky. Depending on the facility, faculty and administration may be uncooperative with families who are accusing their staff of abuse. They can stonewall requests for records or meetings with administration, or cover up for staff members who have a history of abusing patients in order to prevent legal action. A private investigator could be the perfect professional to investigate claims of nursing home abuse. Private investigators are licensed by the state and have access to verified databases comparable to that of law enforcement that allow them to run background checks on subjects in the investigation, from administration to caretakers. They can also look up the facility’s litigation records to determine whether or not they have a history of litigation with the families of residents. Private investigators can go undercover to infiltrate the facility and document the unseen factors such as living conditions, treatment of residents, and the oversight of administration.
If you have need of a private investigator for a nursing home abuse investigation, call Lauth Investigations International today for a free quote on our investigation services and learn how we can help your family get clarity in crucial matters. Call today at 317-951-1100 or visit us online at www.lauthinveststg.wpengine.com. When it comes to the safety of your loved ones, you deserve facts, not fiction.
Employers across the country have operated in a sea of gray area when it comes to confidentiality among employees regarding internal investigations. The question remained whether or not employers were able to require employees to keep internal investigations internal while they were in full swing. Prior to the new year, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) finally answered that question.
Previously, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) had
taken a position that employers could not require employees to keep ongoing
internal investigations confidential because it generally violated labor law. Section
7 of the National Labor Relations Act guarantees employees “the right to
self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain
collectively through representatives of their own choosing.” Universal
requirement of confidentiality could potentially interfere with that law.
Confidentiality in internal investigations was instead dealt with on a
case-by-case basis, with no precedent for blanket confidentiality. This topic
has been in review by the NLRB since May of 2019, but it was only recently that
the board announced that they had reversed their position.
By their very nature, internal investigations are already a big headache for many employers. Further compounding these frustrations is the ideation that no internal investigation can generate meaningful results unless the integrity of the internal investigation is maintained by all employees of the corporation or organization. This new standard of approval by the National Labor Relations Board is a categorical win for employers. The win comes down to one word—duration. In articulating their decision, the majority wrote,
“There are obvious mutual interests to be served by encouraging and allowing employees to report wrongdoing without fear of reprisal from the subject of the investigation. Among other considerations, such reporting promotes the goals of the antidiscrimination statutes by helping employers eradicate workplace discrimination and deal with it promptly and effectively when it occurs.”
This articulation is indirectly evocative of the cycle of
corporate culture, a process by which cause and effect on the parts of both
leadership and employees in pursuit of improved operations leads to a healthy
corporate culture for the entire workforce.
While there are concerns that the future of this reversal
may affect an employee’s ability to organize, the projection of this reversal
is very good news for internal investigations. In any investigation, the
control of information is critical to finding solutions to the corporate
crisis, allowing investigators to use tried-and-true methodology to get to the
root of the problem. With the NLRB finally taking a position that allows
employers to require confidentiality, the integrity of those internal
investigations can now be maintained from the onset, leading to clearer
solutions for the pervasive issues that malign corporations and organizations.
When conducting an internal investigation, it’s imperative that the investigation be comprehensive and impartial from the beginning. Depending on the size and resources of the company, this is not always possible. Corporate investigations, while necessary, can often be a monumental burden to a small business or organization. Many medium to small businesses/organizations do not have the budget to conduct a comprehensive, detailed investigation on an internal issue. This leaves them to their own devices in the pursuit of solving the problem. When there is no team in place to solve internal problems, workplace investigations tend to fall on the shoulders of Human Resources personnel. This means that in addition to their regularly scheduled duties, the HR representative must also embark on a deep dive into the internal complaint, covering all their bases with regards to the investigation. If even a small detail is overlooked in internal investigations, it can leave the corporation or organization open to wrongful termination lawsuits or other types of litigation.
Human resource employees are the salt of the earth within any business or organization. In many circumstances, they are the grease that propels the wheels of progress in internal processes. This means they constantly have multiple projects in-progress and always have a minimal level of supervision for the entire workforce. Factoring in the capacity for human error, mistakes are inevitable in an internal investigation. That’s why it’s imperative for human resource employees to have a comprehensive step-by-step plan when initiating internal investigations. While every investigation will be different and may require a different approach, many of the investigative beats follow the same pattern as outlined by the Society for Human Resource Management:
Conduct a comprehensive intake interview with
the complaining or initial witness, requesting the scaffold information for the
investigation, including the who, what, when, where, how, and why. It’s
important that the employee understand the need for discretion during an open
investigation into the complaint. This reminder for discretion must come with
the caveat denoting any confidentiality rules that would infringe upon an employee’s
rights to discuss their status of employment.
Once the intake interview is conducted, the
complaining witness and other eyewitnesses must put their statements in writing
to document this stage in the investigation.
Diffuse any flaring tensions within the case. The
more elevated the emotions, the more attention that factor of the investigation
requires. Even during an investigation into an open complaint, it’s important
that employees feel safe in their work environment. The workplace must be stabilized
and disciplinary action must be reserved until the investigator has the entire
Decide if the subject of the investigation—the individual
who is named in the complaint—needs to be placed on administrative leave or
allow voluntary leave during the investigation. It’s important that at all steps
of this process that any established no-retaliation policies be reinforced.
Identify what other resources are needed to
conduct this investigation. Regularly consult with in-house counsel regarding
the legality of the steps you are taking.
Based on the statements collected at intake,
identify the parties that still need to be interviewed and what questions will
be asked in that interview.
Interview the accused with the intent to find
the truth. Transparency is important at every stage of this investigation, so
provide detailed allegations from the complaining employee’s statements, and
allow the accused to provide comprehensive answers to the questions asked. Ask
for witnesses to their version of events. At the conclusion of that interview,
always ask if there’s anything else that the accused would like to add.
Re-interview subjects in the case as necessary
pending any new information or evidence.
Keep meticulous notes at all stages of the
investigation. Due to the possibility of litigation following the conclusion of
the investigation, it is imperative that transparency be maintained throughout.
Avoid editorializing in your notes and record only what you are told. Keep
secondary performance issues separate from the investigation.
Create a summary of your report based on all of
the evidence you’ve gathered and the witnesses you’ve spoken to. Resolve all
factual disputes first, moving on next to the emotional factors in the case.
Again, be sure to consult in-house counsel at all stages of the investigation. Determine
the best course of action at the conclusion of the investigation. Meticulously
document all disciplinary action following the conclusion. Remain alert for
forms of retaliation on behalf of all parties involved in the investigation.
If your business is ill-equipped to conduct an internal investigation, consider hiring a private investigator to find answers. Private investigators can have more flexibility than many other types of investigators, due to having an average case load of 3-4 cases at one time. Private investigators can also mitigate some of the costs of internal investigations by conducting a comprehensive investigation with minimal impact to the daily operations of a business or organization. Call Lauth Investigations International today for a free quote on our corporate investigation services. Or, if you’re seeking a long-term solution in improving your workplace culture, call for a free quote on our corporate culture audit program to improve your business from within. Call 317-951-1100 or find us online at www.lauthinveststg.wpengine.com
The #MeToo movement has fundamentally changed the conversation around reporting and documenting allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace. Victims of this harassment have previously been restricted by a pervasive culture of silence and shame within the workplace—a culture where reporters are vilified and characterized as dishonest people with an axe to grind. Now, with many victims of sexual harassment publicizing their experiences in the workplace, more and more people are feeling empowered to seek justice for their treatment.
The Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported in their annual fiscal report that sexual harassment filings had an overall increase of 13.6% from 2018. The EEOC also denoted that they secured nearly $70 million for the victims of sexual harassment through enforcement on behalf of administration. These are just a few ways that the EEOC is attempting to make themselves the new champions of workplace harassment reporting in effort to improve the culture around reporting and enforcement. The EEOC seeks to empower employers to create a corporate culture within their organization that does not demonize reporting and encourages thorough investigations of all claims. By fostering this open and transparent workplace culture, employers create spaces for their employees that are safe, respectful, and thriving environment.
For a myriad of reasons, employers may have difficulty in
performing due-diligence on sexual harassment claims. Whether the employer does
not find the complaint credible, or as a result of oversight, when no
investigation is conducted into the complaint, the organization opens itself up
to subsequent litigation and a public relations nightmare. However, there are
affirmative defenses for employers who can document their attempts to create a
safe environment for their employees. One of the ways employers can document
this is by submitting their organization to a corporate culture audit.
A corporate culture audit is one of the best investments that an employer can make in 2019. These audits are typically conducted by independent risk assessment firms and in some cases, even private investigators. In essence, a corporate culture audit is basically a check-up for a business or organization—not unlike taking your car in for scheduled maintenance. An auditor will enter the work environment and conduct a series of assessments based on a previously-set agenda. The goal of the auditor is to review internal processes and the physical location (if applicable) and identify issues that could have negative consequences for the corporation or organization, such as faulty investigation procedures for internal complaints.
Not only can these audits protect businesses and organizations
in the aftermath of a sexual harassment claim, but corporate culture audits can
also improve your business from within. What we know about the cycle of
corporate culture indicates that when employees feel valued, they are more
engaged and more productive as a result. The audit also evaluates the
organization’s internal operations for efficacy and efficiency. By identifying
flaws within internal operations, corporations can modify those procedures to increase
productivity. Corporate culture audits are an invaluable opportunity for
organizations to bolster their business and improve the overall health of the
If you want to give your business a tune-up, call Lauth
Investigations International today for a free quote on our corporate culture
program. We are an independent private investigation firm specializing in corporate
investigations and crimes against persons. We have an A+ rating with the Better
Business Bureau and scores of 5-star ratings on Google. Call today and learn
how we can improve your business from within.