Training Course Syllabus:
How To Conduct Workplace and Employee
Relations Investigations: 2-day Workshop
From fact-finding to writing reports, this hands
on 2 day seminar will cover the dos and don’ts of conducting workplace
investigations so you can gain the confidence to be a competent and effective
The first day includes learning combined with crucial exercises.
The second day is a Mock Investigation where unlike in the real world, you can
learn in an environment where mistakes don’t have consequences.
Employers conduct investigations for a variety of reasons; employee complaints,
background checks, allegations of misconduct, losses of various types. The
shared primary purpose of these investigations is the same - to find out the
facts of a situation to determine a course of action to take - or not to take.
An investigator also needs to know how to write a good case report. Because just
as a good investigation defends the actions an employer took or not, the report
supports the Company that decision-making (or not.)
If you are looking for the answer to these questions, you would certainly
benefit by attending this seminar:
How do you begin an investigation?
Then, how do you begin the interview?
What questions do you ask?
How do you know when you have all the accurate facts?
What do you tell (or not) to a witness?
How do you determine that all witnesses have been forthcoming?
Alternatively, have not purposefully been given misrepresentations of the facts?
If you are talking to someone to find out what they know, that you do not - how
would you know what information if any that a witness distorted, left out or
used to misinform purposefully?
How is an investigator to know the difference between someone’s inaccurate
recollections vs. purposeful misrepresentation?
How do you end an investigation?
What do you tell (or not tell) employees?
How do you know what to write in the report or keep the files?
From fact-finding to writing reports, at the end
of this seminar you will be a much more competent, effective, and confident
investigator, able to handle company problems and limit your company’s legal
Knowing how to conduct an internal investigation
in regards to a complaint, an accident, or upon receipt of reports of misconduct
or even in regards to a performance situation, is one of the most critical
skills every manager and certainly, every HR professional needs in today’s
Because any company that has employees is guaranteed that one day there, will be
a reported complaint or discovered problem(s). Because where there are people,
there will be problems. Where there are problems, good investigatory and
fact-finding skills are crucial. Because with people being people, every
situation will be different.
When an employer receives an allegation of workplace harassment, discrimination,
or other misconduct, conducting an internal investigation is often a legal
responsibility to limit liability. However, whether the investigation defends
the company and limits their legal liability or blows up into an incredible,
embarrassing mess (that incurs great liability) may depend largely upon HOW the
investigation is conducted. The quality of the investigation conducted depends
largely on the training the investigator received (or not.)
In these investigations, employers often depend heavily upon employee’s
recollections. Most employees will do their best to be forthcoming, and recount
truthful and factual information to the best of their abilities. In the beloved
children’s book, Charlotte’s Web, deceptive action from the spider Charlotte
resulted in a happy ending. In the real world workplace, deception, omission and
interference often have the unhappy result of someone being reprimanded or
retaliated against for conduct they didn’t do or in which they didn’t
participate. For others who should have been held accountable but were not, the
conduct often continues on, in some ways rewarding them and encouraging a repeat
of the conduct.
Sir Walter Scott stated, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice
to deceive.” In an investigation, it can difficult to determine what are the
truthful facts when information is purposefully withheld (omissions), false
information is purposefully inferred (deception) or when false information is
purposefully provided (falsehoods). Such tactics interfere with an
There will be a 15 minute morning break, 1 hour lunch break, and 15 minute afternoon break on each training day.
Day 1 (7:30 AM – 4:30 PM)
7:30 – 8:00 Registration
8:00 – 9:00 First Module - Laying The Foundation:
Root Causes Of Investigations
Untangling Problems – Determining If A Manager Resolves A Problem Vs Reporting To HR
Education and Reporting – Adding To Your Existing Training So Investigations And Problem Solving Are Smoother
Mediating Employee Relations Problems That Are Not Investigations
9:00 – 9:30 Exercise – Resolve vs Report?
9:30 - 10:45 Second Module – Overview of How Federal Laws Impact Investigations
Harassment and Discrimination
Wage and Hour
National Labor Relations Act
Exercise – Social Media Discussion - What to Do and What Not To Do
10:45 – 11:00 Break
11:00 – 12:00 Third Module – Processes and Practices
10 Step Strategic Process For Investigations
Types Of Evidence And Evidence Handling
Documentation Do’s and Don’ts
How To Take Good Notes
Constructing Solid, Factual Questions
12:00 – 1:00 Lunch
1:00 – 1:30 After Lunch Group Activity – Joe Falls Off a Ladder. What To Do and How To Investigate.
1:30 – 2:30 Fourth Module – Interviewing Witnesses
Staging An Interview
Starting An Interview
How to Get People to Talk to You
Disgruntled, Reluctant, Untruthful and Hostile Witnesses
Ending An Interview
2:30 – 2:45 Exercise – Interviewing a Reluctant Witness
2:45 – 3:00 Break
3:00 – 3:30 Fifth Module - Report Writing
Before You Start Writing – Reviewing Your Investigation
Elements of a Good Report
What Goes Where? What to Use and What To Leave Out of Your Report
Formatting a Professional Report
3:30 – 4:00 Sixth Module - Closing The Investigation
The 4 Findings
Determining What Is A Malicious Complaint and Just As Important– What Is Not
Need to Know vs Want To Know
Investigation Communications to Appropriate Parties
Following Up – Closing The Loop
Monitoring For Retaliation. Not If It Happens But When and Where.
4:00 – 4:30 Exercise – Conducting a Complainant’s Closure Meeting and Class Wrap Up
Day 2 (8:30 AM – 4:30 PM)
Mock Investigation – When Sally Met Harold
8:30 Class Begins
Taking The Complaint
Asking Follow-up Questions
Determining The Situation and Allegations
Dividing The Initial Elements of The Complaint
Determine if Intermediate Action is Required
Reviewing Initial Evidence
Getting Ready To Interview
Interviewing the Accused
Determining if Second Interviews Are Needed
Review The Evidence
Determination Of Credibility
Defending Your Credibility Decisions
Writing The Report
What Goes In and What’s Left Out
Class Wrap Up