So, you found yourself dealing with what appears to be a counter-complaint in the investigation you are conducting. Before embarking on this bend in the road, the first step, and likely the most obvious, is to confirm what you are dealing with and whether it affects your mandate.
Ainsi, vous retrouvez face à ce qui semble être une plainte reconventionnelle (« a counter-complaint » en anglais) dans l’enquête que vous conduisez. Avant d’aborder ce nouveau virage, la première étape, et probablement la plus évidente, est de confirmer ce à quoi vous avez faire et si cela affecte votre mandat.
The assessment of credibility and reliability is always a central part of an investigator’s work. My colleague, Chantel Levy, wrote an excellent overview of the considerations a decision maker should bear in mind when making a finding of credibility, including consistency, corroborative evidence, plausibility, and motive.
Interviewing parties and witnesses for workplace investigations is one of the most interesting parts of being a workplace investigator. Interviews can also be one of the most challenging aspects of workplace investigations, and as a result, can also be anxiety-inducing.
In a workplace investigation, a corroborating witness is a person whose evidence supports or confirms the evidence of another witness, including a complainant or respondent. Given that people’s memories naturally fade over time, minor inconsistencies between witness accounts are often not significant and, in many cases, to be expected.
I recently conducted a workplace investigation that included an allegation that an internal workplace investigation was unfair. Several witnesses who were interviewed as part of the internal investigation had provided evidence that was favourable to the complainant, but neither party to the internal investigation was provided with an opportunity to respond to this witness evidence in a follow-up interview.
As workplace investigators, we regularly conduct interviews where the interviewee is accompanied by a representative from their union or association. Many collective agreements have provisions that allow employees to have their representative present during any interviews that are conducted as part of a workplace investigation, regardless of whether the employee participates as a party to the investigation or as a witness.
Witnesses to whom I have extended an invitation to meet with me often have questions about the process. They want to know whether they are obligated to participate, what the investigation is about, and what will be done with the information they provide.