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Alternative Dispute Resolution

Advantages of a Seasoned Investigator

My Biography
Performing a prompt and thorough investigation of a serious internal matter (along with swift remediation for any wrongdoing that may be uncovered) can provide an affirmative defense to a claim of workplace discrimination under Title VII. When you are faced with a difficult employment-related situation, turning to a neutral, truly independent investigator holds significant advantages.

A seasoned investigator is skilled in questioning employees at multiple levels and frees up HR to provide support for internal clients on other matters.

In stressful, complex or emotionally difficult situations, having a third party investigator alleviates the strain on the relationship between human resources personnel and the employees (both managers and non-managers) whom they will support long after the investigation is over.

By using a seasoned investigator you are more likely to insulate your investigation from attack, since an area of increasing focus for plaintiffs’ counsel is the training and experience of those who perform the factfinding.

In some situations witnesses may be more willing to speak with an external party who has no prior relationship with the company, particularly where they have lost confidence in management to resolve a situation fairly or impartially.

A workplace investigation conducted by an experienced outside investigator may generate more credibility in the eyes of a judge or jury than one conducted by a human resources generalist, who may be perceived as having bias in favor of the employer.

Using a truly independent investigator helps reduce the possibility that your legal counsel could be disqualified due to a conflict of interest arising from counsel’s representation of your general interests, prompting a potentially costly substitution of attorneys in mid-stream. More specifically, if a court disqualifies your counsel once litigation has begun you may face significant new expenses engendered by discovery delays. You must also search for alternate counsel who must be brought up to speed on the case.

If you intend to use the investigative notes of your legal representative as proof that your company acted reasonably under the circumstances, you may inadvertently waive your right to keep your attorney’s records confidential under the attorney-client privilege.