Last week, our colleague Dana Campbell wrote a terrific blog entitled “Four Tips for Conducting Workplace Investigations Amidst the COVID-19 Crisis.” It contained some excellent advice including the use of technology to replace face-to-face interviews that are part of our investigation process.
We have all had a chance to put Dana’s advice into use this week as we are all investigating and working remotely. For the most part, this way of working has been successful. However, we have had some unanticipated mishaps, which we share with you below. And, in the spirit of working in new ways, this is the first RT blog written collaboratively, so you will hear the voices of different members of our team.
It’s no secret that workplace investigations can be an emotionally charged process. To that end, it is not uncommon for individuals who are interviewed during an investigation to become visibly upset or frustrated. However, it is an altogether different situation where an interviewee becomes downright aggressive, hostile or disrespectful towards the investigator.
As a workplace investigator, my job often requires me to consider how a person’s well-being might have been impacted as a result of a workplace incident. Something I occasionally neglect to do, however, is reflect on my own well-being and safety while at work. My colleague, Janice Rubin, wrote about the need for investigators to keep self care in mind but sometimes the dangers to our health are more immediate than stress or compassion fatigue. I asked my fellow investigators to share their experiences with safety issues while on the job, and below are some examples of hazards that investigators might encounter during the course of an investigation, and steps that can be taken to minimize the risk.
I recently did several investigations which involved a bit of creativity when choosing the interview location. The situations made me think of how an interview space can affect a participant’s experience and perhaps the quality of evidence that is elicited during that meeting. Below, I offer some thoughts to consider when choosing an interview space.
The interview is an opportunity for the investigator to neutrally gather evidence. It is also an opportunity for the interviewee to talk about their understanding and observations of the situation at hand. The interview is often one of the key, if not the main, sources of information that an investigator will have.