The following are some tips to avoid the most common errors in conducting an internal investigation and preparing the subsequent investigation report:
- Provide a system for employees, athletes and other parties to report allegations.
- Select an investigator who is trained, experienced and objective (e.g., no bias) to handle the subject matter of the inquiry.
- Follow the organization’s written internal investigation policy and procedure.
- Conduct a prompt investigation.
- Ensure the integrity of the investigation by: (a) securing relevant evidence; (b) collecting evidence using legal and industry-approved protocols; and (c) analyzing evidence through sound procedures or trained experts.
- Conduct interviews by professionals trained in effective investigative interviewing techniques and documented by an accurate method (e.g., digital recorder, court reporter, detailed handwritten notes).
- Follow the applicable collective bargaining agreement.
- Recognize and address all issues impacting employees’ employment status and athletes’ eligibility issues during the internal investigation and in the investigation report.
- Provide all interview subjects a notice of their obligations under organizational policy and procedures (e.g., obligation to provide truthful information) prior to an investigation interview.
- Submit all relevant information, including pertinent documents, data and evidence that corroborates or refutes the alleged rules-violation, in the investigation report.
- State the specific rule, policy or law that was violated in the investigation report.
- Develop evidence to demonstrate the existence of mitigating factors and to address the occurrence of aggravating factors.
- Identify who reported the allegation in the investigation report.
- Describe the self-corrective measures and self-imposed penalties that relate to the reported violations in the investigation report.
- Document (through a report or memorandum) if the internal investigation determines no violation occurred.
For assistance with conducting internal investigations, contact attorneys Michael L. Buckner (firstname.lastname@example.org; +1-954-941-1844 ext. 1) or Lori A. Williams (email@example.com; +1-954-941-1844 ext. 7).