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Serious insight for serious situations.

Serious insight for serious situations.

Insights

Reflections and news direct from Rubin Thomlinson.
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Identifying and managing groupthink in workplace investigations

Several of my investigations have led me to reflect on the phenomenon of “groupthink,” and how it impacts the workplace and intrudes upon workplace investigations. Groupthink is a term that was first coined by social psychologist Irving Janis, and refers to a group that, when working together, strives for harmony and consensus above all else.

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Whistleblower Series: Crafting an effective whistleblower policy

Admittedly, writing about policy writing may not be the most exciting topic. It is, however, a really important one. A good policy is what sets up a whistleblower program for success. If done well, it can also give important information about what the whistleblower program entails to those who are thinking of reporting wrongdoing.

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Whistleblower Series: The Workplace Whistleblower Program – Friend or Foe?

What seems like a really long time ago, I wrote in one of my blogs that I would be doing a series on whistleblowing. It seemed like a great idea at the time: there isn’t that much practical information about whistleblowing out there and I have a lot to share on the topic given that I have done work in this field for many years. But then, a pandemic happened, and my “series” didn’t quite get off the ground. I’ve come back to the topic, though, as I’ve been fielding some questions about it lately.

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“Missing and Missed”: 5 takeaways for systemic reviews

We are often asked to determine whether systemic issues exist in workplaces, focussing on issues like sexual misconduct, harassment, racism, and alcohol and substance use. Unlike investigations, systemic reviews don’t examine isolated error or fault. Systemic reviews don’t uncover misconduct or wrongdoing of a particular person, or flag potential civil or criminal liability. Systemic reviews are different. Designed to identify issues involving an institution’s systems, policies, and practices, they can also scrutinize group behaviours, norms, and actions – in ways that an investigation or a court proceeding can’t.

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The art of interviewing: Drawing inspiration from Oprah

On the evening of Sunday, March 7, I, along with 17 million other people, tuned in to watch Oprah’s interview of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. I am the first to admit that I wanted to hear all the details about their decision to step back as “senior” members of the Royal Family, but as an investigator, I also was also interested in how Oprah approached the interview – how she asked her questions, what she asked, and how Harry and Meghan would respond.

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Fairness in investigations

Most workplace investigations are not subject to independent review; though they may be considered by a court or tribunal, this would usually be in the context of a separate legal proceeding, e.g., a wrongful dismissal action or a human rights case. Certain investigations, however, may include the exercise of a statutory power of decision, which may give a party a right to pursue a judicial review to challenge the conclusions reached. In such a case, the court may directly address issues such as fairness and the reasonableness of the decision reached in the course of an investigation.

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