Employers often determine that investigations must be repeated. While this is not a desirable outcome, it is preferable to allowing for an inferior investigation to be the only inquiry into a situation. The following are some situations where repeating an investigation can be appropriate:
- A matter has received the attention of larger authority figures in the organization. Sometimes these figures dislike the methods used in the initial investigation, and sometimes they believe additional items should be covered. In some cases, the findings of the initial investigation are simply so alarming that they want corroboration before proceeding with decision-making steps.
- An additional investigative authority has been issued. Particularly with internal investigations, investigators may have insufficient permissions or informational access because of bureaucracy. A simple example would be an investigator who does not have access to salary data when pay disparity is part of a larger discrimination allegation. Generally, external investigators are given whatever data is pertinent to the investigation and can make better investigative findings.
- Poorly conducted investigations should be redone to provide accurate findings.
- High-risk matters are regularly reinvestigated precisely because they are high risk. When a particular allegation is extremely risky, it makes sense to get the highest quality investigation possible and conduct the reinvestigation in a way that protects any possible evidentiary or attorney-client privileges.
- Investigations that result in poorly written reports should be reinvestigated. This does not mean that every time an investigation reveals information that is unfavorable to the employer, things should be reinvestigated. Rather, it means that reports of investigations that do not make logical conclusions should be reinvestigated, not simply rewritten.
When investigations are repeated, subsequent investigators may or may not request to review the previous reports. Unless there is information that is no longer available in the workforce, a neutral and unbiased investigator will generally decide not to review a previous investigation into the same matter.
If you suspect that you need to repeat an investigation, reach out to the Lynch Service Company to discuss your needs.