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Workplace Investigations: A Blueprint And A Caution

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November 15, 2022

A two-part series from SHRM discusses how to conduct workplace investigations, following an accusation or a complaint. Part one covers the basics, including assembling witnesses, key questions to ask and how to ask them, avoiding a certain rabbit hole, and timing (basically, the earlier the better). The post includes three sets of model questions, one for the complainant, one for witnesses, and one for the accused.

The second post addresses the question of confidentiality, and specifically what representations the investigator should make about it before an interview. The short version is: Don’t over promise. There are reasons, the writer explains, why it may become necessary to disclose all or part of information obtained. An attorney from Baker Donelson defines three circumstances where that may be the case.

“Protecting the confidentiality of complainants and others participating in workplace investigations is a tightrope act for investigators,” says the writer. “They need to provide assurances of confidentiality to the extent possible without guaranteeing complete confidentiality.”

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