Pocket Guide to Workplace Investigations (1st ed., 2016)


By Carmen Plaza de Jennings and Jayne Benz Chipman
1st edition, 2016

348 in stock


This CPER guide provides the legal and logistical framework for conducting a workplace investigation – from inception to finish – for both public and private workplaces, nationally.

Workplace investigations are not a “one-size-fits-all” process. What is appropriate in any given case is invariably dictated by the facts of the situation, including workplace policies and procedures. Nevertheless, a general framework of best practices has developed over time, shaped by legal decisions and legislation that continues to evolve. What is critical in all cases is to conduct a full and fair investigation that is appropriate to the factual circumstances. Not only is a full and fair investigation important to all parties involved, it is crucial for employers in avoiding negligent investigation claims.

In addition to steps for employers, the Guide discusses employee rights at appropriate junctures. It also includes pertinent cases in this developing legal area, as well as a summary checklist and considerations for conducting the investigation.

Table of Contents


I. Introduction 1
II. Workplace Investigations 3
    A. First Stage: Preliminary Considerations and Decisions 3
        1. Assessing the need for an investigation 3
        2. Determining if a formal investigation is needed or required 4
        3. Choosing an investigator 7
        4. Interim actions 10
    B. Second Stage: Pre-Investigation Organization and Planning 12
        1. The scope of the investigation 12
        2. Identifying and obtaining relevant documents 14
        3. Identifying and classifying witnesses 16
            a. Deciding who should be interviewed 16
            b. Deciding the order of witness interviews 16
        4. Investigation documentation 18
            a. Investigator notes 18
            b. Tape recording 20
        5. Preparing for interviews 22
        6. Confidentiality 24
    C. Third Stage: Conducting the Investigation 25
        1. Witness interviews: common elements 25
            a. Opening an interview 28
            b. Closing an interview 27
        2. Interviewing the complainant 28
        3. Interviewing the individual who is the subject of the investigation 30
            a. Purpose and objective of the interview 30
            b. Common procedural issues encountered in interviewing the
subject of the investigation
        4. Interviewing third-party witnesses 36
    D. Final Stage: the Investigation 38
        1. Standard of proof 38
        2. Assessing credibility 39
        3. Written investigation report 41
            a. Investigator background 42
            b. Applicable employer guidelines or policies 42
            c. Summaries of key facts 43
            d. Key factual findings of the investigation 43
            e. Conclusion 44
        4. Notification of investigation results 45
III. Legal Rights of Employees Regarding Workplace Investigations 46
    A. Workplace Privacy 46
    B. Confidentiality 48
    C. Requests for Investigation Documents or Information 49
        1. Pre-investigative interview 49
        2. Prior to completion of the investigation 51
        3. Following completion of the investigation 52
    D. Appeal rights 53
    E. Public Safety Officers and Firefighters 54
    F. Community College District Employees 56
IV. Cases and Additional Resources 58
    CASES 58
    A. Duty to Investigate and Adequacy of Investigation 58
    B. Right of Representation 59
    C. Confidentiality 61
    D. Privacy 62
    E. Self-Incrimination 63
    F. Dishonesty During Investigation 63
    G. Disclosure of Investigation Information and Reports 64
V. Summary Checklist for Conducting the Investigation 68
VI. Table of Cases 73

Additional information

Weight 0.625 lbs
Dimensions 10 × 6 × 0.5 in