Human Resources professionals often have to do fact-finding in the workplace. They may conduct formal or informal investigations — perhaps into allegations of harassment, bullying, mobbing, discrimination, improper use of resources, health and safety issues, conflict of interest or other kinds of wrongdoing.
At the end of the fact-finding comes, inevitably, the report. And report writing can be a bit tricky. While at a hotel bar after a work conference, a senior manager is alleged to have told an intern that she might get a permanent job if she slept with him that night.
OCR Letter of Findings
He also, again while in the bar and again allegedly, massaged her shoulder while making lewd comments about her in front of colleagues and later that evening texted her inappropriate messages. You have completed your evidence gathering. Now you have to set out:. This is the only segment where it is best not to be as brief as circumstances permit.
The goal is to show the reader that you have left no reasonable investigative stone unturned.Complaint Letter--How to Write an Effective Letter of Complaint
He or she can then have confidence that what follows in the rest of the report is based on an exhaustive and impartial investigation. Set out what you have done to gather the evidence. What did you do to track down potential witnesses? Who did you interview - and when? What documents and digital evidence did you gather, review and have forensically analyzed? Did you go to where the incident allegedly happened? List any obstacles - and what you did to try and overcome them.
Perhaps a witness refused to be interviewed. Maybe someone denied you access to their personal cell phone records. Or the hotel declined your request for their CCTV footage. You may not have succeeded, but at least you can show you tried. Briefly set the stage. Introduce the key people who you will be referring to later in the report — who they are and their relationship to the issue s you are investigating.
Include anything else that occurred prior to the conference that might be relevant to the incident itself. Set out why the people involved were at the hotel and anything relevant that happened that day.
The Ultimate Guide to Writing Investigation Reports
That might, for example, include emails or texts arranging to meet in the bar. Stick to what is relevant to the incident itself. Tell the reader the story of what happened, preferably in chronological order. Go through events as they unfolded, as methodically as you can. The complainant said this.
The respondent said that. Witness One said this. Witness Two said that. The relevant texts are …. Cell phone records show…… CCTV located behind the bar shows ………. The bill was paid at You want to recreate events as they happened, where they happened, as best as the evidence permits.
Liberally lard the report with diagrams, photographs and — in any electronic version - embedded video.Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way e.
Follow these steps when analyzing your data and concluding an investigation about improper workplace conduct. Now your detective work is done. Once you have completed the interviews, examined the documents and materials, and reviewed the policies, the next step is to organize and analyze the investigatory materials.
These would include your notes, witness statements, documents, e-mails, policies and personnel records. Re-read them against the gut feeling you may already have formed. Make sure your left-brain analysis of the materials supports your right-brain inclination. It means making a judgment as to what you believe occurred. Rather, if you find that a fact is more likely true than not true, you can use that fact to support your conclusion and action plan.
In other words, 51 percent true to 49 percent false is good enough, as long as there is a supportable basis for your finding. Assess credibility. T here are many ways to assess credibility. One is controversial—judging credibility by physical signs such as eye contact, body posture and the like. Some investigators believe that body language furnishes important clues as to the truthfulness of the witness, while others maintain that its significance is greatly overblown.
A more standard means of assessing credibility involves reviewing notes, witness statements and documents for inconsistencies, illogical premises, evidence of ulterior motives and past behavior. Also consider whether witnesses spoke from direct knowledge or based on hearsay or speculation. In one case, for example, an employee claimed a co-worker was harassing and stalking her outside of working hours. The accused co-worker, however, claimed they had become friends and that the complainant had unsuccessfully tried to pursue a romantic relationship with him.
There were no other witnesses, but both employees had cell phones. The investigator asked for and obtained the cell phone records directly from the parties involved. An examination of them enabled the investigator to determine who had been calling whom away from work and, thus, make a reasoned assessment as to who was more likely telling the truth.
Evaluate truth and accuracy. When Clouseau reaches to pet the dog, it snaps at him. But was he leering? It turns out he had a physical condition that created the impression he was staring when he was not. Look for biases. Consider any cultural, societal or ethnic tendencies that may influence either the perceptions of the complainant or the behavior of the accused, says Sorolis. For example, people from some cultures are more physically demonstrative than others.
Others who are not familiar with those norms may erroneously infer harassing intentions. Such cultural differences do not necessarily excuse behavior that is unwanted or clearly inappropriate in the workplace, but they may shed a different light on how to approach the perpetrator and correct the problem.
Avoid legal conclusions. Framing your conclusions in legal terms can only make matters worse. Avoid it at all costs. At a minimum, you probably have driven up the price of an early settlement. The results: A claim against the employer, a lost opportunity for summary judgment and an eventual settlement price at least twice what it otherwise would have been, according to the attorney who represented the employer.
Another drawback of using a legal definition of harassment is that it may lead you to set an unnecessarily high standard for the information you gather, leading you to determine incorrectly that the evidence is inconclusive and thus take no corrective action. Neither conclusion would be appropriate.What is prohibited conduct? Setting up a panel and monitoring obligations.
Investigations in their context. Making findings. The panel is tasked with making findings of fact and it is crucial that the panel concludes its investigation and its report with clear findings or a conclusion that the evidence did not permit the panel to make findings of fact. These conclusions must be based on the evidence the panel has found in the course of its investigation: the documents, the statements etc. The investigation report must explain how the panel came to its findings. Assessing credibility.
In some cases, the findings of fact will depend on the credibility of the witnesses. Here are some factors a panel may use to assess credibility:. Ultimately, the panel will make an assessment as to their credibility and therefore which account is credible. Corroborative statements made by a complainant to others after an incident can be relevant. Assessing evidence. All this evidence is relevant, but not all evidence has the same weight. Hearsay evidence may be corroborative and is evidence of what a witness heard others say: Sergio told Donough that he saw Sane at a restaurant last Wednesday with a colleague.
Donough has no direct evidence of what Sane was doing last Wednesday; he can only give hearsay evidence of what Sergio told him. Hearsay evidence may be considered by a panel in the context of investigations of possible misconduct, but will have limited probative value on its own. Drawing adverse inferences. Adverse inferences may be drawn from a failure to cooperate or an evasive response to questions. Standard of proof. Whether the evidence is sufficient to meet the requisite standard of proof at the end of a disciplinary process is ultimately a decision of the Under-Secretary-General for Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance.
In cases where separation or dismissal is a possible outcome, the evidence must be clear and convincing, that is, the truth of the facts is highly probable.
For any other disciplinary measure, the preponderance of the evidence is required more likely than not that the facts and circumstances underlying the misconduct exist or have occurred.
Instead, the panel must ensure that it explains the evidence that it relies upon in making its findings of fact. Reaching conclusions and disagreement among panel members. The panel must submit a report as the final product of the investigation.Reports are mainly used to convey important sources of information, observation or an investigation to a specific audience for a specific purpose.
Reports structure are often presented in an organized format, made simple for the audience to understand. What is an Investigation Report? An investigation report is a formal document that is written once a formal complaint is filed to inform a concerned party about a specific incident that has occurred. It also states what actions might be taken regarding the situation. What are the Components of the Investigation Report? Following are the components of an investigation report: Case Information Referral source Details of the accusation Information about the subject Investigation purpose Interview reports Recommendations.
What is the Main Purpose of an Investigation Report? The main purpose of an investigation report is to record the steps and findings of an investigation. It helps uncover topics that can provide new insight into a case. It also helps present relevant data that can be used to implement preventive measures in your organization. What are the Different Examples of Investigations? Following are the different examples of investigations: Fraud investigations Crime scene investigations Accident investigations Theft investigations Assault investigations Homicide investigations Workplace investigations, etc.
What are the Steps of an Incident Investigation? Following are the steps of an incident investigation: Take immediate action Plan your investigation Collect the data Analyze the data Implement corrective actions Report the investigation.Take your investigation report writing to the next level by downloading our most popular resource: the Investigation Report Template.
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This may be the most important component of the investigation report. Many readers will never need to go beyond this section. High-level stakeholders get an overall picture of the allegations, investigation and outcome.
Describe the allegation in simple, clear language. Avoid using jargon, acronyms or technical terms that the average reader outside the company may not understand. Begin outlining the investigation plan by defining the scope. Record a description of each action taken during the investigation.
This becomes a diary of your investigation, showing everything that was done during the investigation, who did it and when. Be thorough and detailed because this section of your report can be an invaluable resource if you are ever challenged on any details of your investigation. Write a summary of each interview. These should be brief outlines listed separately for each interview.
This is an expanded version of the summaries documented above. Even though some of the information is repeated, be sure to include it so that you can use the summaries and reports separately as standalone documentation of the interviews conducted. Include a credibility assessment for each interview subject in the interview report. This involves assessing the credibility of the witness. The EEOC has published guidelines that recommend examining the following factors:.
As long as you have a good explanation of why certain evidence is not being weighted as heavily as other evidence, your conclusion is defensible. Include this section only if you have been asked to provide recommendations. You may recommend that the company does nothing, provides counselling, disciplines the employee stransfers employees, terminates or demotes an employee, etc.
Keep in mind that your investigative report may be seen by your supervisors, directors, even C-level executives in your company, as well as attorneys and judges if a case goes to court.
Additional pages can be added if needed. Who are the parties involved or potentially involved? Keep in mind that even if the person raising the concerns is doing so on behalf of another person, he or she may also have rights under the Code association or poisoned environment.
List the main concerns. Which ones might be human rights issues? Add an extra page if needed. When did the issues arise? Keep an open mind about the last incident — for example, it could be a letter confirming a conversation that took place long ago.
What social area do the issues relate to for example, employment, services or contracts? Does it relate to more than one social area? What are all the grounds that might apply?
What types of discrimination do the concerns relate to for example, harassment, poisoned environment, subtle discrimination or systemic discrimination?
What principles should be kept in mind when interviewing witnesses or reviewing documents for example, that discrimination need only be one factor or that rules need to be designed inclusively and include the concept of accommodation? Before interviewing witnesses or reviewing documents, an investigator needs to plan each step and understand what evidence would show discrimination. Rather than asking witnesses if they think discrimination exists, witnesses should be asked specific questions about what they have observed, are aware of or have personally experienced.
An investigator should keep in mind that for many people discrimination means the same thing as harassment. Uninformed witnesses may not be able to identify a failure to accommodate or an unfair job competition process as discriminatory, but they would be able to say what happened. So, questions must be specific enough to allow the investigator to understand the facts and analyze at the end of the investigation whether all the facts uncovered amount to a violation of the Code.
Take detailed notes of the questions asked and answers provided by each witness, and give that witness a copy of the notes relating to his or her interview. Attach notes from all witness interviews to the investigation template.Visit coronavirus. Section et seq. Age Discrimination Act.
The Oakridge Care Center, Inc. PCC 49 beds are all skilled nursing facilities owned by A. Associates, Inc. Abbey Tiller is the proprietor and chief executive officer of A.
OCR conducted this investigation pursuant to its authority to enforce Section and its implementing regulation, 45 CFR Part 84, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability, and the Age Discrimination Act and its implementing regulation, 45 CFR Part 91, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, by recipients of HHS funding.
The Complainant had hip replacement surgery at the Veterans Administration Medical Center VA in San Francisco, California, and required post-operative rehabilitation at a skilled nursing facility. The Complainant was eventually admitted to another skilled nursing facility located in San Francisco. He filed this complaint with OCR on October 12, Associates denies that it engaged in any discriminatory practices in refusing admission to the Complainant to OCC.
Associates also denies that it violated Section or the Age Discrimination Act. In order to resolve this matter, A. In addition, A. On August 15,September 7,and March 16,OCC provided training to its staff on universal precautions for infectious diseases. On or about December 21,OCC placed the following policy in its brochure for prospective patients:. On August 22,A. On April 18,Ms. Tiller implemented the following policy at A. It is the policy of A. The above-stated policy and procedure will be re-issued annually to all staff involved in decisions regarding admission at each facility.
Any questions regarding this issue shall be addressed to the CEO, who will provide any training that is necessary. There will be no less than an annual mandatory in-service given to all patient care staff regarding care for residents who carry blood-borne pathogens. As a result of the corrective actions taken by A.