How To Conduct Workplace and Employee Relations Investigations: 2-day Workshop

By: Teri Morning, MBA, MS, SHRM-CSP, SPHR-CA, Principal at HindsightHR
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Course “How To Conduct Workplace and Employee Relations Investigations: 2-day Workshop” has been pre-approved by HRCI as eligible for 13.5 credits towards a participant’s recertification upon full completion.
“The use of this seal is not an endorsement by the HR Certification Institute of the quality of the program”.

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Course Description:

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 investigator.

  • 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 answer of 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 liability.

Who will Benefit:

  • HR professional
  • HR Generalist
  • Employee Relations Persons
  • Manager
  • Supervisor
  • Small Business Owners

Topic Background:

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 workplace.

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 investigation.

Course Outline

There will be a 15 minute morning break, 1 hour lunch break, and 15 minute afternoon break on each training day.

Day One (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
    • Safety
    • Disability
    • Retaliation
    • Wage and Hour
    • National Labor Relations Act
    • Union Workplaces

    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
    • Reviewing Documentation
    • 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
    • Body Language
    • Disgruntled, Reluctant, Untruthful and Hostile Witnesses
    • Ending An Interview
    • Second Interviews
  • 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 Two (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
  • Break
    • Getting Ready To Interview
    • Determining Witnesses
    • Constructing Questions
  • Lunch
    • Interviewing Witnesses
    • Interviewing the Accused
    • Determining if Second Interviews Are Needed
  • Break
    • Review The Evidence
    • Determination Of Credibility
      • Defending Your Credibility Decisions
      • Your Finding(s)
    • Writing The Report
      • What Goes In and What’s Left Out
      • Class Wrap Up

Meet Your Instructor

Teri Morning
Teri Morning, MBA, MS, SHRM-CSP, SPHR-CA
Principal at HindsightHR

Teri Morning, MBA, MS, SHRM-CSP, SPHR-CA is the President of her own HR Consulting firm and a new company Hindsight – Employee Relations and Investigation Management software. She has over 15 years human resource, safety and training experience in a variety of professional fields, including retail, distribution, architectural, engineering, consulting, manufacturing (union), public sector and both profit and non-profit company structures. She has consulted with employers on their problems and trained managers and employees for over 10 years, meeting and working with employees from all types of businesses, her favorite state being CA. In addition to a MBA, Teri has a Master’s degree in Human Resource Development with a specialization in Conflict Management. She was certified by the State of Indiana in mediation skills, is qualified as a Myers-Briggs practitioner, and is a member of SHRM, holding the dual certification of a SHRM Senior Professional in Human Resources (SHRM-CSP) and as a HRCI Certified, Senior Professional in Human Resources – California (SPHR-CA). Teri recently finished certifications in Project Management and IT Management.

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