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Respect In the Work Place: Workplace Investigations – A Practice Guide

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Lawyers and law enforcement agents will tell you that their professional training equips them to be effective work place investigators. Most of them are wrong. The relationship dynamics of workplace investigations into harassment – sexual and psychological, business fraud, and business conflict of interest must meet ‘fair process’ standards that are very different from those of law enforcement investigations and court room cross examination.

Workplace managers who initiate workplace investigations must understand these requirements. Ultimately, they are ones held accountable to act on the results of a workplace investigation. Should any of the parties involved question those actions through a followup lawsuit, the business sponsor It set out what investigation business business sponsors, and the investigators they choose, must do to meet these requirements.

The work world has changed.

What used be acceptable forms of behavior between peers, and between boss and direct report, are now 'harassing' behaviors. Everyone in the workplace is expected to be respectful in the way they work with team mates and the way in which they manage their direct reports.

As a result, the number of workplace harassment investigations is constantly increasing.

The investigators who conduct them must themselves work in ways that get at the 'below the surface' truth, while staying respectful of the complainants, witnesses, and alleged offenders with whom they interact. As a result, the number of workplace harassment investigations is constantly increasing. The investigators who conduct them must themselves work in ways that get at the 'below the surface' truth, while staying respectful of the complainants, witnesses, and alleged offenders with whom they interact. Criminal investigation interviewing techniques and court room cross examination techniques don't achieve this goal. The relationship dynamics in a workplace investigation are very different.

Witnesses and alleged offenders cannot be cross examined or pressured in the ways used by law enforcement agents and lawyers. Instead, workplace investigations need to be skilled in building rapport. They need to understand that they are 'professionals relating to workplace peer', not not law enforcement officers to potential 'accused', or of court room lawyers cross examining the 'other side's' witness. Few law enforcement agents and court room skilled lawyers act effectively on this crucial difference.

If you are an executive with the need to commission a workplace investigation into harassment, whatever form it takes, you must take responsibility for ensuring that this difference is implemented successfully.  As the investigation business sponsor, you must select investigators who are skilled, professional investigators, not cross examiners or 'I learned by watching TV' interviewers. You retain the responsibility for the oversight of the investigation.   This guide is for you. It provides you with the information you that the investigation you must oversee meets its required process and interview standards, and deliver actionable results to you that are defend-able before a judge, should any party to the investigation appeal those results in a lawsuit.

If you are a professional investigator, this guide will inform you about the workplace place investigation management standards which you must comply to deliver actionable results to the investigation business sponsor which will stand the test of a potential follow up law suit.

The Guide's Chapters:

1: Overview of An Investigation's Progress

2: Discovery of Legally Actionable Findings

3: Ensuring Investigation Fair Process

4: Evidence and the '3 Test" Framework

5: Conducting Interviews

6: "Lack of Respect in the Workplace": OD Intervention Playbook

7: Legislative and Social Psychological Background

Appendix 1: Sample Report: "Conduct of the Investigation"

Appendix 2: Sample Forms and Templates

Append 3: Sample Witness Interview Schedule

Appendix 4: The Right Talent: What We Do

This practice guide lays out all of the processes and steps that today’s workplace harassment investigators need to know to thoughtfully conduct such investigations. It’s seven Chapters summarize the deep experience gained by carrying out toxic workplace, sexual harassment and other workplace investigations. Its Appendixes provide sample reports, forms and communication templates. The work world has changed. What used be acceptable forms of behavior between peers, and between boss and direct report, are now 'harassing' behaviors. Everyone in the workplace is expected to be respectful in the way they work with team mates and manager their subordinates.

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Roelf Woldring is a 'ex' CIO, CEO, and business transformation leader. His postgraduate education is in the psychology of the work place.  His executive leadership and senior consulting experience is in information technology and business turnaround. He is uniquely qualified and has the expertise | experience base needed to understand today's work place investigations. He had led complex workplace investigations, commissioned independent investigators to conduct them, and carried out the follow up actions that needed to occur after them.

He is  a soft skill development expert. He creates e-learning programs on Next Level Managerial skills which allow people to move beyond their every day people soft skills to the advanced levels needed by managers, team members, and specialized professions He leads face to face workshops and does one on one coaching, which provide individuals with the in-depth training which is the key to constantly improving their soft skills.

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