Judges and juries now look at the acts of employers as well as employees before deciding wrongful termination, sexual harassment, and other discrimination suits.
Employment Discrimination Investigations:
Our firm conducts neutral fact-finding for sexual harassment, wrongful termination and other sensitive employment disputes. Our lead investigator and corporate trainer, Donna L. Knifsend, has over 25 years of experience in this field, is licensed to practice law in three states, and is an adjunct professor teaching neutral fact-finding and conflict management. Ms. Knifsend has also been outside employment counsel for several corporations including Georgia Pacific, Inc., Color-box, Inc., Institute of Conflict Management, and various nonprofit organizations. She has served on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's Business Advisory Council and assisted business owners on many sensitive issues involving EEO charges and discrimination. She has successfully resolved hundreds of sensitive EEOC and private employment claims as lead mediator. Based on this solid foundation, our firm understands and appreciates how critical effective investigations can be to moving cases forward or resolving them in a cost-effective manner.
MD-110 Certified Investigators:
Our firm has MD-110 Certified Investigators with extensive experience in conducting sensitive employment discrimination investigations. We have conducted investigations for several governmental agencies including the United States Postal Service and United States Immigration and Naturalization Service. We have served as outside independent contractors in writing several EEO Agency decisions.
Perception is everything in lawsuit prevention and dispute resolution! By hiring an outside neutral fact-finding firm, all presumption of bias is eliminated. Our firm provides the level field where witnesses are free to tell all without the fear and perception that they will lose their job.
Investigations must be:
- Based on facts not assumptions
At minimum the employee must be given:
- Notice of the alleged misconduct, and
- A fair opportunity to respond
Presumption of bias is always a factor in employment discrimination cases. Although it is not mandatory to outsource discrimination investigations, it is highly recommended if you feel that the case will proceed to trial or if it is a sensitive case. Keep in mind that internal investigations often become "suspect" during cross-examination. We obtain and document the facts in full technicolor with supporting declarations and evidence.
The Benefits of Outsourced Neutral Investigations:
- Enhances credibility
- Reduces employee stress and personnel scrutiny
- Reduces workplace violence
- Prevents half-truths
- Prevents conflicts of interest challenges
- Reduces presumption of biased interpretations
- Builds better relationships
- Avoids spreading of confidential and sensitive information
- Avoids escalating the dispute
- Provides an objective report to use in settlement negotiations
Bonus: Risk Management Assessment:
Companies must keep in mind that fact-finding and neutral assessments are merely initial steps to lawsuit prevention & management®. Lawsuit prevention is not a one-size fits all process. A neutral fact-finder presents the facts, but a company must be prepared to implement systems and procedures to cure the problem and minimize future risk. Our investigation often results in additional information that can help a company avoid the risk and exposure of future lawsuits and employee disputes through proactive measures.
Corporate Training Available:
Corporations that conduct internal investigations must ensure that the investigations are not compromised. Our firm has the tools and experience to train internal investigators on how to conduct timely, thorough, and affective investigations. Our training and materials are interactive, memorable and provide proven tips, techniques and procedures to assist employers and attorneys in conducting internal or outsourced investigations. Our training includes:
- The five stages of a thorough investigation
- The art of interviewing witnesses through effective communication skills
- Preserving confidentiality
- How to document testimony
- How to analyze and preserve evidence
- The fine line between effective investigation and invasion of privacy
- How to write effective reports
- How to prepare for depositions and trial
- Additional segments of individual (hands-on) mentoring and guidance are available.