Over the last year, the Covid-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way workplaces operate. Consequently, the way workplace investigations are conducted has changed as well with many being conducted virtually. As an investigator, this means that you may need to change some of your tactics and strategies when conducting a virtual workplace investigation. The following virtual investigation checklist may help.
- Choose your technology. Just as many offices now operate using virtual technology, your investigation may need to rely on the same or similar technology. Take the time to review the available platforms and choose one that is cost-effective, offers a quality connection, and has a proven privacy guarantee.
- Educate your witnesses. Not only must you plan your overall investigation strategy, but you will also need to educate all parties/witnesses regarding the technology you will be using to conduct your interviews. Compile easy to understand written directions for witnesses and make sure they receive those directions well ahead of a scheduled interview. In addition, take the time to conduct a practice run before your first scheduled witness interview to make sure the technology works as intended.
- Create a backup plan. Because you will be depending heavily on technology when conducting a virtual investigation, always have a backup plan in place in case that technology fails. That may mean scheduling extra time for the interview, and/or scheduling a date and time for a second interview in case the first interview does not run smoothly. It could involve having a plan to switch to an alternate technology platform. Keep in mind that if the video fails or is not an available option, a phone call can also be an effective tool.
- Prepare documents. Workplace investigations frequently involve written documents. In a traditional interview, those documents are often presented to the witness for reference purposes at the time of the interview. The same applies to a virtual investigation. Be prepared to share any documents via the conferencing platform, or via email or text message during the interview.
- Create a “cheat sheet” for your interviews. Managing your time and resources wisely is important in any workplace investigation. It becomes even more important in a virtual investigation because it can be difficult enough to schedule and conduct virtual interviews in the first place. To ensure that you make the most of each interview, create a “cheat sheet” that covers all the questions you want to ask as well as all the verbal and non-verbal cues you should look for during the interview.
If you have additional questions or concerns regarding virtual workplace investigations, contact the experienced workplace investigations team at Ablin Law by filling out our online contact form or by calling 312.288.2012.