Independent Fact-Finding for Internal Employment Complaints

Conducting workplace investigations involving sensitive employment issues is a challenging task. As a trusted independent investigator, Andrea leverages her vast corporate experience to investigate all types of employment claims. Andrea knows the rights questions to ask, with discretion, efficiency, and sound judgment, to get the information she needs.

Most organizations have a policy that requires employees to inform the appropriate person of any complaint of discrimination or harassment; the organization then has an obligation to investigate. Employers turn to Andrea when they do not want to conduct the investigation internally and thereby become fact witnesses. Often, the nature of the complaint or the identity of individuals involved also requires an outside review. Whatever the reason, there are times that call for an independent set of eyes.

Andrea acts as fact-finder, following the investigation wherever it goes. She conducts investigations throughout the United States, and her clients have included the following:

  • a New Jersey university

  • the West Coast office of a national construction and engineering contractor

  • a Philadelphia law firm

  • the regional offices of a global healthcare analytics and technology company

  • a regional Delaware Valley bank

  • East Coast offices of a global information and software company

  • a Lehigh Valley manufacturer of vitamins and natural health supplements

  • a suburban Philadelphia automobile dealership

  • a Philadelphia cultural institution

Andrea conducts interviews thoughtfully and with respect. She is adept at dealing with sensitive issues and her personal style encourages individuals to be open and frank with her. If an interview reveals new witnesses or additional people with valuable information, she interviews them. If Andrea discovers previously unknown and relevant documents, she evaluates them. Time is of the essence, and she attempts to complete the investigation as quickly as possible, while also being thorough.

At the conclusion of the investigation, Andrea gives an oral report to the organization. In most cases, she then prepares a full written report and submits it to the organization and its outside counsel. In that report, Andrea makes findings of fact based on the information she has gathered during the investigation. Where necessary, she determines credibility of the people she has interviewed. She frequently attaches interview summaries to the report, along with copies of relevant documents. The report does not typically make legal conclusions. However, when the organization requests, Andrea may make recommendations. Organizations rely on the Report and can act on it in good faith.

Clients routinely tell Andrea that her work has served several important purposes:

  • the investigation was a tangible way to show employees that the employer cared enough to hire an independent person to investigate

  • the interviews allowed employees to express themselves and to know that management took their comments seriously

  • employees felt respected and heard

  • interview summaries gave management valuable insights into problem areas

  • management received a thorough and balanced report it can use to make hard decisions

Importantly, Andrea’s workplace investigations allow an employer’s regular inside and outside counsel to maintain arms-length distance from the fact-finding. This permits those lawyers to protect the attorney-client privilege with their internal and external clients, and shields those lawyers from being called to testify if a lawsuit ensues. Many jurisdictions consider the report to be discoverable. Andrea is available to testify at deposition and trial.