There are many instances within a corporate entity where allegations of fraud, misconduct and other crimes must be investigated. In order to keep the investigation private, confidential and unbiased, soliciting the services of a third party is warranted.
Knowing Why and When
Outsourcing your internal investigation is recommended because it eliminates bias, is handled professionally, and the outcome is a fair assessment of the facts. This also allows the department to maintain the manpower needed to run the department effectively without adjusting any resources needed to do a thorough investigation. Additionally, a third party is able to filter any interference and provide a new perspective (objectivity) on what may have actually occurred.
Instances where an outside investigation is warranted could include:
- Sexual Harassment
- Investigations of High-Level Staff
- Security Breaches
- Claims of Fraud
- Legal Representation from the Claimant
- Criminal Behavior
It’s important to understand what kind of factors could hinder a thorough investigation. Below are some common reasons that could potentially get in the way of your internal investigation.
Lack of Skills and Experience
Most human resources and security departments are not equipped to handle full-scale investigations without disrupting the workplace in some manner. Additionally, asking too many questions will place employees on alert that something is taking place and we all know people talk.
When investigating issues dealing with technology, a company may not have the bandwidth or resources to thoroughly search hard drives and other equipment that will assist in reaching a fair conclusion.
Work relationships may become an issue, especially if the person being investigated has a decent or trusting relationship with the investigator, or someone on the team. This may cause a conflict of interest, and opens the door to biased results. Making sure all elements of impropriety are removed is key in ensuring a thorough and bias-free process.
Loss of Confidentiality
It is difficult to conduct a thorough internal investigation through Human Resources without others becoming aware of the situation. Using a third party will keep confusion to a minimum, and will alleviate any confidentiality breaches.
Protection Options for Employees
To protect the interests of their employees, many companies have an anonymous whistleblower hotline set up, for reporting of misconduct within the company. In addition to this, under federal labor laws, employees have protection under OSHA’s whistleblower statute to keep employees from being subject to adverse action for reporting violations.
Helping You Increase Your Reach
There are guidelines to follow when conducting an internal investigation, including post-investigation responsibilities. Using an external resource will help elevate the level of confidence during the probe, and remove any liability from the Human Resource department or in-house counsel. The recommendations from a third party resource will also provide insight and a basis for implementing additional protocols that may alleviate these situations in the future. Failing to take the investigative process seriously can have huge ramifications for your organization – legally, financially and professionally. Being proactive in these matters can make a tremendous difference.
Using an experienced firm is important in this process. The Brumell Group has successfully conducted internal corporate investigations since 1989 with highly qualified, licensed, investigative staff. Please refer to our list of services for ways to assist you in these investigations. For more information on how The Brumell Group can assist your organization, give us a call today.