When misconduct allegations are raised, leaders should rapidly shift their focus to an internal investigation. Depending on the nature of the accused’s wrongdoing, the issue needs to be investigated as soon as possible. But a random investigation is simply not enough. We have listed some crucial steps for a successful internal investigation.
- Does the allegation have merit?
Analyze the facts carefully and the people reporting the misconduct. If the allegations are particular and the reporter has zero stakes, then it is likely that the allegations have merit. In many cases, ascertaining the merit of a misconduct allegation is tough, particularly if the allegation is anonymous. These claims rarely include the truth. In many cases, the information is prone to be fabricated or concealed if the reporter of the misconduct has a vendetta in mind.
- Assign a supervising investigator and deploy appropriate resources
Firstly, determine if the allegation is a prospective violation of the law or of a company policy. A violation is prone to pose more risk and liability to the company and its workforce and dictate the resources needed for the investigation. When the allegation is regarding a policy violation, the internal resources of the company are enough to investigate and fix the matter. The potential law violation needs the resources of experienced investigators and necessitates accountants, legal input and a forensics team. An allegation regarding the safety of a person needs the consulting and notification of law enforcement. For sexual harassment or claims of bias cases, the government has put forward particular guidelines regarding how and when the investigation should be performed.
- Obtain and review available documents
This is an important factor. If looking for personnel files or other data, keep in mind to offer alternative reasons for why the documents are requested so as to not raise any kind of flags. In today’s digital world, evidentiary documents are available in company servers, emails, laptops, messages, social media etc. In the case of potential law violations, document a chain of custody and protect the original data and documents. You should always refer the case to a prosecutor.
- Conduct appropriate background research
Investigate the reporter as well as those suspected of the misconduct. This encompasses the review of personnel records, criminal and civil litigation history, analysis of social media etc. It is common in the case of financial fraud matters to find that the suspect, subject, or their family members have many business affiliations, drive expensive vehicles, own high end homes and travel to exotic resorts and places. For more, visit Aequitask.