Workplace investigations should be conducted periodically to ensure that crimes are not going unnoticed within organizations. A thorough workplace investigation can help uncover many types of crimes, from harassment, discrimination, and forgery to theft. A workplace investigation is a process through which an organization uncovers and discovers facts about complaints related to misconduct, violence, harassment, theft, and other issues. Although the procedures and policies for workplace investigations vary from one organization to another, there are certain standard practices.
1. Ensure confidentiality during investigations.
You and your human resource team conducting workplace investigations must ensure the complete confidentiality of all the parties involved, including the complainant, suspect, and witnesses. When you assure these people that you won’t be sharing their side of the story with anyone except when necessary, they will be encouraged to reveal all they know about the case without fearing retribution or being judged. And, of course, this will be the perfect opportunity for you and your investigators to get the right story and evidence needed to make a final decision.
2. Review documentation
As an employer, you and your HR investigators will make a huge mistake in corporate investigations if you rely strictly on stories the parties involved recount. While it is a good idea to grant interviews to all involved to hear their sides of the story, it will be irrational of you to focus on just their words. Instead, you need to review all documented evidence, such as recordings, messages, pictures, or emails, for clarity.
3. Get an experienced investigator.
For a workplace investigation to be effective, you must work with an experienced investigator with a vast understanding of all the applicable laws associated with an internal inquiry. It’s up to you to choose an internal or private investigator for corporate investigations to help with the case. Whatever you decide, your goal should be to get someone who will use his comprehensive knowledge of laws and regulations to conduct thorough investigations while avoiding possible legal complications along the way. Rest assured that with an expert investigator on your team, you will be more confident in resolving the issue efficiently while adhering to your organization’s protocols and cultures.
There are, however, several ways through which you and your investigation team can determine if your employees have committed previous crimes;
1. Conduct interviews
During a workplace investigation, it is possible to discover the past criminal records of your employees through information obtained from interviews. This is why conducting as many interviews as possible with as many witnesses as possible, or people you believe can give you more details on the issue is crucial. Of course, you must ask follow-up questions during interviews to get more background information about the employees involved. However, remember to schedule interviews at the right times to maintain the day-to-day activities of your employees. In addition, ensure that all interviews are conducted privately, without bias.
2. Investigate previous criminal history.
It would also help if you and the investigation team investigated the previous criminal history of the suspect. To successfully do this, you must understand and familiarize yourself with the applicable laws of your state. Some of the best ways of carrying out previous investigations on criminal history involve searching online public records or requesting background information through court clerks. Nevertheless, to be safe, it is better to do all criminal checks even before hiring your employees. This will help you avoid recruiting people with criminal histories.
3. Collect the relevant documents.
It is of the utmost importance to collect documents and evidence that can help you point out the wrongdoings of your employees during a corporate investigation. Documents, including emails, text messages, and social media messages, can help you uncover many things. Similarly, pieces of evidence, including footage from security cameras, videos, photos, and other expense reports, can help you uncover other previous criminal activities of your employees. It will help if you collect all such evidence, even if you aren’t sure they will be helpful. You can always pass them to a private investigator who will use them with other materials at hand to create a complete picture of the situation.