Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Staying on Top and Getting Some Control of Your Internal Investigation

I've got medical appointments today, so here's a reprint that I think is useful for anyone having to deal with an internal investigation at work being conducted by their supervisor, Human Resources or some other authority. These are the dos and don'ts of internal investigations:


· Request the formal investigation in writing/via email (memo);

· Save multiple hard copies of the request, including any supporting documentation that was forwarded to HR;

· Know the procedures that govern the investigation;

· Know the expected timing of the investigation;

· Present evidence strategically. Only submit what is vitally necessary to prove your case. Submit the evidence in some logical order for ease of understanding the issue;

· Label your evidence with the relevance of each item submitted for review by the investigator;

· Present a witness list;

· File an appeal, if you don’t agree with the decision;

· Find alternative resources, if your situation warrants it (e.g., outside/external investigation, legal counsel, etc.); and

· Keep your mouth shut during the investigation--remember that you are surrounded by liars and opportunists in the workplace.


· Allow people with conflicts of interest to be an integral part of the investigation. Express why you are concerned with a person’s participation in the investigation and ask for alternates to replace that individual;

· Inform your chain-of-command before filing a complaint, if your chain-of-command is the party that is bullying, discriminating or retaliating against you;

· Accept a determination you don’t agree with--investigate your options, such as filing an appeal or filing a complaint with EEOC; and

· Give your employer ammunition to use against you. For example:

-- make sure you report to work early or on time;
-- don’t miss deadlines;
-- be professional at all times;
-- double-check your work;
-- don’t take the bait (e.g., people will try to antagonize you to get an angry response that can be used against you later);
-- document everything; and
-- don’t keep evidence at work where it can be found and destroyed.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mary. I have a question for you. What about reverse discrimination in the workplace? My spouse is Latino and their supervisor is African American. My spouse has been working there for over 3 years and the mistreatment of non-black employees by this supervisor is blatant. Even the black employees are commenting on it. You know what is ironic? It is a white owned company... and this is going on right under their noses. The supervisor allows other black employees to play computer games during work time, spend as much time as they like chatting on the phone, and allows them to take time off from work while ensuring they are paid. Black employees have been caught sleeping while on the job and a joke is made out of it. The supervisor hangs around with the employees under their supervision after hours and on days off. Recently, a non-black employee missed 2 days of work because their child was sick and they were suspended for 3 days without pay. A black employee who was hired around the same time as the non-black employee has called in sick numerous times, has been allowed to take time off for their birthday, etc. and has not been disciplined.

My question to you is this: there is much tom-tom banging over discrimination in the workplace against blacks... what happens when it is the blacks that are doing the discriminating? We have a black president now. We have and/or have had a black secretary of state, attorney general, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, United Nations Ambassador, etc... even chairman of the FCC. We have and have had many blacks in very high positions of power all over the United States. Yet there are still the cries of "discrimination". Much has been made of discrimination against blacks... to the exclusion of discrimination being perpetrated by blacks or discrimination being perpetrated against other minorities by whomever. It happens. I've seen it and heard it. We have actually voice recorded this supervisor without their knowledge as our state allows this (don't you just LOVE technology!) and when the shoe drops, it's really going to drop. It is unfortunate that these kinds of steps have to be taken in order to remove someone from a position for which they are very clearly not qualified.

I think my point is that black people are just as guilty as any other nationality of being unfair, dishonest and discriminatory.

Discrimination is WRONG no matter what color you are.

Thanks and have a a great day.

12:14 PM  
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