Don't add opinions to your notes during a corporate investigation

by on May 5, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Opinions, Written Statements, and Audio Recording during a corporate investigation

Opinions and Statements
Do not write down any of your thoughts or impressions like “I do not believe this witness”. That will show the corporate investigation is not impartial. You’re making up your mind right then and there without having heard everybody, without having seen all the documents.

It’s okay to think those things. It’s okay to share those observations with the lawyers or with others at a later date. Just don’t put it on paper. Again, you will not appear to be conducting an objective corporate investigation.

Audio recording
In some jurisdictions, you may tape-record conversations without consent, that’s a limited number. It is not a good idea to tape record any conversations during a corporate investigation because it is intimidating and it will make the witnesses less forthcoming. You get more if you don’t tape-record even if the jurisdiction are in allows you to do that. It feels to the witnesses like you’re in the police department and that’s not a good thing.

Written Statements during corporate investigations
At the end of the interview, you may or may not want the individuals to sign a statement about what they said. If it’s the absolute smoking gun evidence in the case, you may want that in writing immediately. And you may want another oath. If it’s not so sensitive but you just have a feeling you want another oath, you think the person might change their story at a later date, that’s another good reason to ask for another oath.

Some witnesses are not that important and your own notes are sufficient. But at the end of every interview, you should at least ask yourself, “Do I want this person to write up in their own handwriting what they said and to sign it under penalty of perjury or not?”

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