It is imperative that those responsible to selecting investigators consider the following:
1. Knowledge of the Industry – An effective investigator will have knowledge of the industry in question to the extent that such knowledge is relevant to the case at hand. In addition, where the substantive nature of the issue is highly specialized or technical in nature, it is important to qualify the investigator’s knowledge of the specific area in question.
2. Knowledge of the “Workplace” – While there are many investigators, one that is an expert in workplace issues will most likely be best suited to investigations of workplace misconduct. This means that such an investigator understands organizational theory and basic theories of management. In addition, he should have an understanding regarding how organizations operate in real life as opposed to on paper. Lastly, he should have an understanding of organizational cultural dynamics.
3. An Understanding of the Legal Process – The effectiveness of an investigation is typically correlated with one’s knowledge of the legal process. One who knows the steps and nuances involved in litigation will most likely be able to plan and conduct the investigation most effectively. For example, one who is knowledgeable of the nuances of electronic discovery, even at a cursory level, will be better able to anticipate where necessary documentary evidence may be found. In addition, the investigator will most likely be a better witness in the impending litigation than someone who is not knowledgeable of the process. She typically has more experienced being deposed and interviewed as a witness.
4. Knowledge of the Subject Matter in Question – The actual misconduct in question should influence the selection of the investigator. For example, misconduct surrounding accounting fraud should be investigated by someone knowledgeable in this area. Sexual harassment claims should be investigated by someone knowledgeable in this area.
For more, see my book: Workplace Investigations: Discrimination & Harassment published by DataMotion Publishing