Let Us Know How to Conduct Workplace Investigation: Dig In Here!

MailXaminer | April 17th, 2019 | Forensics

“Just imagine a problem or complaint has come up at your company, conducting a perfect workplace investigation can help you to understand what actually happened. But, the major question arises how you will deal with the situation.”

Nowadays, most of the organizations, in addition to codes of ethics and conduct, have found it imperative to create investigation guidelines to assist employees from different corporate backgrounds (law, audit, finance, resources, etc.) to conduct workplace inspection. In this blog we will see how to conduct workplace investigation in proper way. If the company does not carry out the management process in an efficient way then it can affect the company’s reputation. Thus, to make it hassle-free for the organization, we are going to discuss a step-by-step process to conduct workplace monitoring. Nowadays most of the investigators follow the automated solution with the help of computer forensics tool to simplify the investigation process.

Some Basic Principles Investigator Must Observe

Every workplace investigation process will have unique issues, dimensions, circumstances, challenges, and outcomes. Moreover, if the investigation is not conducted properly then it can lead to worst scenarios. So before starting the workplace inspection procedure investigator should observe each of the basic principles explained below:

  • Confidentiality: While carrying out the investigation process, every aspect should be kept confidential. The maintenance of confidentiality is important to the integrity of an investigation. If confidentiality of the process is not maintained then it can lead to serious consequences. Some of the consequences include damage to someone’s reputation, the success of the investigation can be undermined, the company may face liability or negative publicity, the information disclosure can cause retaliatory action.
  • Proper Mindset: One of the primary attributes of an investigator is ‘Doubt’. The investigator must be skeptical. They should not assume that workplace management or employees are telling the whole truth and are honest until the facts are collected and then inquiries are complete. Moreover, they must have strong imagination ability to develop sufficient theories to compare factual evidence and also consider the smallest details. With all such things, investigators can discover the truth.
  • Professionalism: The essence of professionalism can be described when the investigators conduct workplace investigation process with fairness, integrity, and diligence. The professionalism of the company is reflected in the way how the investigation is conducted. Sometimes, the integrity of an investigation is judged by the reputation of the investigators.
  • Independence: When conduct workplace inspection investigators, decision makers, and employees must protect the company. Moreover, the investigators must be free from actual or apparent bias including the conflict of interest. One can say the Independence means that everyone should get a fair chance. Additionally, the investigation subjects must be investigated in the same manner without any partiality.
  • Competence: While conduct workplace monitoring the quality of an investigation also depends on one of the most important principles i.e. Competence of the investigator. The investigators must be experienced and have the expertise to conduct a credible investigation. Moreover, the investigator must have complete knowledge about managing documents and records, interviewing the witness and maintain any applicable privileges. The information about the workplace management controls and strategies employed by the relevant business unit must be known to the investigator.
  • Timeliness: Every investigation is carried in some unique way which includes multiple levels of complexity and time requirements. Timeliness is a part of professionalism but still important for other reasons such as innocent people should be cleared as soon as possible, continuing misconduct should be stopped immediately, corrective actions should be implemented with wasting time.

Step By Step Guide to Conduct Workplace Investigation

Workplace inspection procedure becomes a seamless task if it implemented step-wise. Thus, in this section, we are going to explain how to conduct workplace investigation in a proper way by describing all the steps involved in investigation process.

1. Decide Whether to Investigate or Not:

Before beginning investigation process, one must take time to decide whether there is a need to conduct the investigation or not. For instance, if all the employees agree on what happened or the problem occurred appears to be minor then carrying out the investigation is not the right choice.

2. If Necessary, Take Immediate Action:

If the situation is miserable then one must respond to the situation immediately conduct workplace inspection otherwise, it can harm the business and organization. Moreover, the matter should be looked very closely. The situation should not be prejudged. The actions should be taken by considering the complete situation. If the situation is serious then immediate actions must be taken.

3. Choose An Investigator:

Always choose an experienced investigator or trained with advanced investigation techniques. One can easily hire a professional investigator to handle the situation. An investigator with great expertise will be able to conduct workplace monitoring in a correct manner and resolve the case in on-time.

4. Plan the Investigation:

To plan how to conduct workplace investigation one must organize thought, gather information related to the problem like an employee’s complaint, a superior’s report, written warnings or any material which is associated with the problem. One must use the information as a guide in finding out actually what happened, which person should be interviewed, what to ask, any confidential documents, any witnesses, etc.

5. Conduct Interviews:

The important process of the investigation is to gather relevant information in the most basic way i.e. asking questions to people. Most of the times, investigations involve at least two interviews: one of the employees accused of wrongdoing and the other one is the employee who was the victim or complained. Sometimes, the need arises to interview witnesses who have heard or seen something vital.

6. Gather Evidence:

The most important part of every workplace investigation process is gathering documents such as personnel files, email messages, company policies, etc. Apart from this, in some investigations, other types of evidence are gathered such as a weapon, photographs, evidence, or stolen items.

7. Evaluate The Evidence:

One of the most challenging segments of conduct workplace investigation is when the witnesses disagree or contradict each other. It becomes difficult to find out actually what happened. There are some proven methods using which one can decide where the truth lies. During the cybercrime investigation, the analysis of the collected digital evidence can be done efficiently with the help of Digital Forensics Software, Which will provide you the automated solution to examine and extract the hidden evidence from the digital data.

8. Take Action:

While conduct workplace monitoring once the person is able to figure out what actually happened, then he/she has to decide what to do about it. If serious wrongdoing occurred according to the conclusion then take disciplinary action immediately to avoid legal liability for the employee’s behavior and to protect the company and other workers. When handling the situation, the number of situations must be considered such as how serious the actions were, how the person handled similar problems in the past.

9. Document The Investigation:

After the completion of the investigation, one should prepare an investigation report that explains all the situation. This will provide the company with some sort of protection from lawsuits related to the investigation. Additionally, it will also provide a written record in the case of future misconduct by the same employee. The report should explain all the details related to the complete problem, beginning from the day problem came to the company’s attention to what measure were taken to deal with it.

10. Follow Up:

The final step to conduct workplace inspection is to follow up with the employee to ensure that the problem is resolved genuinely with the proper investigation process.

Final Words

Every workplace investigation will have different scenarios, challenges, and outcomes. However, it is very important to conduct workplace investigation process professionally and in a consistent manner to yield better results. In the above section, a complete guide is explained which leads to the right path to handle and conduct workplace monitoring effectively, in an authentic way.