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Serious insight for serious situations.


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Fine Line between Deception & Honesty – Understanding a Reluctant Party

In my previous life, before becoming an investigator, I lived in the world of private legal practice, both in the Caribbean and in Ontario, Canada. In that role, I had the opportunity of interacting with persons of diverse social, cultural and racial backgrounds, persons of varying personality types and persons with experiences that had shaped their life or the way they interacted with others. There were many occasions where the persons with whom I interacted, whether as their advocate or as opposing counsel, were seemingly not forthcoming with the information that I needed to illicit. The typical or traditional thinking is that they are not forthcoming because they are either lying or have something to hide.

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Do I Have to Tell the Respondent Everything?

One of the questions we are often asked is how much information should be disclosed to a respondent during an investigation. Some feel that respondents are more likely to provide honest and candid information if they are taken by surprise as opposed to having advance notice of the allegations and supporting evidence. The fear is that with the information, a respondent may have more time to concoct a story in response to the allegations and evidence. The problem with this tactic is that it is premised on an underlying assumption that the respondent has something to hide and is therefore “guilty” of the allegations. Such an approach is not impartial. It also risks being found to be procedurally unfair.

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#Me Too at Two – Has Anything Changed?

A few weeks ago, I was part of a panel on TVO. The discussion centred on what had changed in the two years since the #Me Too Movement had begun. Much to my surprise, I seemed to be the sole voice on the panel who thought that the needle on the sexual harassment dial had moved at all.

At the risk of sounding like a Pollyanna, let me explain why I believe things have changed. I do so from the vantage point of someone who leads a large team of lawyers, lawyers who investigate complaints of sexual harassment across the country, in English and in French, and in every conceivable type of workplace.

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Where to meet? Tips on choosing interview spaces

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.

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