Utilizing a Proven Process When Conducting Sensitive, Internal Investigations

Schedule Monday, April 24, 2023 || 10:00 AM PDT | 01:00 PM EDT
Duration 60 Mins
Level Basic & Intermediate
Webinar ID IQW23D0428

  • Recognizing the Situations Where an Internal Investigation May be Warranted.
  • Our Role When Conducting Investigations.
  • Information to Obtain to Determine the Best Approach to the Investigation.
  • Determining Who Should be Interviewed.
  • Utilizing an Introductory Interview Guide. 
  • Following a Proven Interview Methodology.
  • Utilizing an Investigatory Interview Questionnaire.
  • Closing the Interviews.
  • Preparing an Investigatory Findings Report.

Overview of the webinar

An internal investigation is a formal inquiry to determine whether workplace policies or regulatory practices have been violated. Investigations can follow :

  • A complaint.
  • Allegation.
  • Suspicion of misconduct.
  • Fraud.
  • Harassment accusations.
  • Many other reasons covered by federal, state and/or local employment laws.

The goal of any internal investigation is to obtain a straightforward view of the facts:

  • What happened.
  • When it happened.
  • Who was responsible.
  • Who may have been harmed.
  • What actions may be necessary to prevent the alleged wrongdoing from reoccurring.

Internal investigations assist organizations in gathering information, fashioning defenses and crafting remedies. Specifically, internal investigations are useful for organizations to identify where there are needs for remediation. 

The final investigative report should include:

  • The incident investigated, with dates.
  • The individuals involved.
  • Key factual findings.
  • Applicable employer policies.
  • Interviewees’ statements.
  • Conclusions.
  • Issues that couldn't be resolved.
  • Employer’s follow up action.

It’s critical to investigate an allegation quickly. Stretching an investigation out over a lengthy period tells employees the alleged misconduct isn’t important. And as time goes by, it becomes more difficult to collect evidence and get witnesses to talk, details are forgotten and documents disappear. 

And if the organization terminates or disciplines an employee and that person files a law suit or complaint the investigation report will be critical in to protecting the company in court. While every complaint is unique, having a well-defined, consistent process in place can ward off future lawsuits.

Who should attend?

HR Managers & any other line manager or leader

Why should you attend?

Internal investigations are fact-findings initiatives carried out to uncover the truth about alleged misconduct. And this must be done without compromising the relationship with employees or unnecessarily damaging anyone's reputation. All of which requiring planning, consistent execution, analytical skill, and an understanding of the legalities involved.

Employers are legally mandated to investigate harassment, discrimination, retaliation, safety and certain other types of complaints. And good investigators first create a plan that includes:

  • What is the objective?
  • Who will be interviewed?
  • What will be investigated?
  • What evidence needs to be collected?

Workplace investigations are crucial when it comes to establishing a safe and welcoming work environment. However, these investigations are often complex and can involve navigating sensitive topics and disputes.

A poorly conducted internal investigation can cost a company financially and damage its reputation, not to mention the reputations of the person tasked with overseeing such a probe. Some of the common mistakes made include:

  • Failing to plan.
  • Delaying an investigation.
  • Not remaining objective.
  • Using aggressive interviewing tactics.
  • Not conducting a thorough investigation.
  • Failing to reach a conclusion with a written report.

Conducting workplace investigations is one of the most challenging duties that HR professionals and other managers have to face due to today’s workforce demographics, new employment laws, employees being more aware of their rights – a quagmire of potential landmines - and many managers not trained to do so.

Employers must demonstrate fairness when conducting workplace investigations. and investigations should be thorough and well documented before an employer takes any action. Additionally, effective workplace investigations need to be guided by the following principles:

  • Neutrality—HR and other personnel involved in an investigation must be detached from an incident, remain objective, have no personal stake in the outcome and give all employees involved the opportunity to provide their version of the incidents.
  • Thoroughness—To ensure that the proper decision is made investigators must be thorough in uncovering all the necessary information while asking detailed questions during interviews
  • Timeliness—Once an investigation is triggered, investigators must act promptly to avoid further acts of wrongdoing with any disciplinary action administered in a timely manner to avoid legal issues.

Faculty - Mr.Pete Tosh

Pete Tosh is the Founder of The Focus Group, a management consulting and training firm that assists organizations in sustaining profitable growth through four core disciplines:

  • Maximizing Leadership Effectiveness
  • Implementing Strategic HR Initiatives
  • Strategic Planning
  • Enhancing Customer Loyalty

The Focus Group has provided these consulting & training services to manufacturing & service organizations across the U.S., Canada, Europe & the Middle East. Prior to founding The Focus Group 25 years ago, Pete had 15 years of corporate leadership experience including serving as the V.P. of Human Resources & Quality

Pete frequently facilitates a variety of leadership development programs. Employees from over 3,500 organizations have benefited from Pete’s experience and perspective. Pete is also co-author of Leading Your Organization to the Next Level: The Core Disciplines of Sustained Profitable Growth.

Pete holds a B.A. degree in Psychology from Emory and Henry College & Masters's degree in both Business Administration & Industrial Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University.


HR (General) recertification credit hours toward aPHR™, PHR®, PHRca®, SPHR®, GPHR®, PHRi™ and SPHRi™ recertification through HR Certification Institute® (HRCI®). Please make note of the activity ID number on your recertification application form. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit the HR Certification Institute website at www.hrci.org

ComplianceIQ is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM. This program is valid for [1] PDCs for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit www.shrmcertification.org.

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