The Five Essential Elements of a work investigation report

by on May 5, 2009 · 1 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

The final report of a work investigation is the most critical component

Record the details of the work investigation in your report, that is the date, the time, the place, the duration of the interviews and the attendees of the interviews on the actual piece of paper itself.

  1. Label it.
  2. If you’re taking the position investigation is privileged, “Privileged and confidential.” If it’s not privileged, then at least label it “Confidential”.

  3. Avoid editorial comments.
  4. Transcribe the interview. If you find an extreme case of misconduct during a work investigation, such as suspected criminal activity or something close to it, you may want to bring in somebody to transcribe or record the interview. You may want to bring in a court reporter to take down the interview or you may actually want to use a recording device of some kind with the permission of the individual who you are transcribing because that is the ultimate evidence of the verbatim statement of the witness. Those are pretty rare and – but you should think about that in extreme circumstances.

  5. Purpose of the report.
  6. The question of writing reports comes up a great deal in the more routine types of work investigation; perhaps a verbal report to management is sufficient. However, where there are judgment calls to be made, it may be that a written report is really necessary to support whatever the ultimate recommendation of the work investigation.

  7. “Privileged and confidential”
  8. The report may be labeled “Privileged and confidential”. But you need to bear in mind that at some later date, the company may decide to waive the privilege. So the tone of any work investigation report has to be objective so that the lawyer for the other side at a trial can’t pick it apart saying, “Look how it’s slanted in this way or the other.” One way to achieve that is to have a very thorough factual narrative that lays out the fact both from the perspective of the alleged victim or alleged accused whatever the circumstances are.

  9. Avoid summaries
  10. Avoid summaries or other techniques that subject the work investigation report to the attack that certain facts were left out or that certain facts were unduly emphasized. So having an objective, complete, and factual narrative will go a long way towards showing the report itself is objective.

1 Comment on This Post

  1. heskated
    February 17, 2011 - 4:37 am

    I filed a harassment case recently and after 2 weeks heard nothing. I had to ask my manager to find out what the status was. I received an email from my manager informing me that HR had closed the case the week before after talking to the SVP that I complained about. They didn’t interview me or any of the 3 witnesses, my manager or the manager on duty that talked to me the day of the incident. I find this absolutely appalling. Is it common practice?

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