Corporate investigations play a key role in today’s business landscape. Employment attorneys assist corporations with internal investigations when there are claims of corporate wrongdoing.
Plaintiffs are filing an increasing number of claims against corporations in the current business climate. Internal investigations are essential to allow corporations to obtain the facts, allowing management to curtail issues, if necessary.
Reducing liability is the primary goal. In many cases, an internal investigation can also help to establish a corporate culture of transparency. These investigations are implemented in order to provide businesses with the information they need to make decisions that have lasting impacts on their success.
Corporate investigations must have a sufficient level of confidentiality to ensure that they meet legal ethics. The following will provide you with a deeper understanding of corporate investigations, should you face one within your organization.
The Role of Your Attorney in a Corporate Investigation
An employment attorney can conduct the internal investigation for your company. The attorney works to discover the facts and find out if other employees have similar complaints. These employees may or may not have filed a formal charge.
Occasionally, the employment attorney will help the business owner terminate employees, where necessary, and can even speak with the individual claimant to determine the reason for his or her grievance.
In certain cases, where a claim has been filed with a federal agency such as the Department of Labor, an employment attorney will contact the DOL, prepare employees for the investigatory interviews, and compile the documents needed to show compliance.
Confidentiality in Corporate Investigations
Confidentiality ensures that the integrity of the investigative process remains intact. Protecting employees from retaliation is just one objective during an investigation. So it’s important to maintain confidentiality throughout the process. Individuals who provide information during an investigation must be assured that their disclosures will be kept confidential.
In many cases, it can be difficult to guarantee full confidentiality without the use of an employment attorney, as investigations often require the disclosure of information to investigators and other parties. Businesses should have processes in place that allow employees to provide valuable information that assists the investigation.
Interviews in Corporate Investigations
Interviews are critical to the success of an investigation. They allow information to be obtained from individuals who are directly and indirectly involved in a case. But interviews can be difficult for employees. Many feel uncomfortable during the interview process, and fears of retaliation can influence their willingness to provide accurate and complete information. Any witness who can provide supporting evidence must be interviewed during a corporate investigation. A defined interview protocol should be put in place that dictates who should be interviewed and in what order.
This ensures that you maximize the interview phase of the investigation while protecting the needs of everyone involved. The information gathered in interviews must be documented. It should include all of the relevant findings provided by individuals, and a summary should be prepared for all parties in an investigation.
The Benefits of Corporate Investigations
Investigations reduce the risk of potential lawsuits that lead to high court costs and settlements. Most importantly, corporate investigations address internal issues that arise so that any damage that may occur can be mitigated and resolved in a timely manner.
Implementing an effective investigation process helps your business reap the many benefits it provides and ensures lasting success in your industry.
It is best for a corporation to retain employment counsel to conduct internal investigations to ensure legal compliance and to maintain confidentiality.