Workplace Investigation

S. K. Nelson & Company has provided a cost effective option for conducting workplace investigations for numerous public and private employers throughout California for over 20 years. Our methods, practices and work product are legally compliant and defensible should the matter end up in court. We know what it takes to conduct sound, effective workplace investigations without crippling the employer's bottom line.

A Representative List of the Industries We Have Served

Public Entities

Cities, counties, special districts and their constituent departments, elected bodies and officials

Public Safety

Police and Sheriff's Departments, Fire Departments, Probation Departments, and District Attorneys

Public Education

School Districts, Community College Districts, County Offices of Education

Agribusiness

Growers and Producers, Packers, Processors and Labor Contractors

Construction Trades

Drywall, Carpentry, Iron Work, Concrete and Plumbing

Health Care

Hospitals, Physicians and Physician's Groups

Food Services Industry

Manufacturers, Processors, and Retail Chains

 

Our Philosophy on Workplace Investigations

Our philosophy regarding the conduct of workplace investigations is embodied in the Latin phrase, "Justitia nemini neganda est" — Justice is to be denied to none. Consistent with this view, we hold dear several core beliefs regarding the conduct of fair, effective, legally compliant workplace investigations:

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Philosophy on Investigative Documentation

 

There is an old adage which says, "A good investigative report can make up for a relatively poor investigation while a poor report may ruin an otherwise good investigation." In his own inimitable style, renowned California trial attorney J. Tony Serra succinctly described the value and importance of investigative documentation when he said, "If it ain't on the page, it ain't on the stage."

Although the preparation of a summary report of factual findings is one recognized approach to documentation, our experience has shown that this may leave decision-makers wanting for lack of detail. We believe employers, legal counsel (and ultimately, judges and juries) can best understand a workplace controversy when they are provided with the richness of underlying context and detail found in interview summaries. 

It has been our experience that it is difficult to convey such detail merely with a summary discussion and findings. We have found that thorough interview summaries help establish important facts in a controversy while providing context and playing an important role in credibility assessment that is often vital in determining what did or did not occur.

S. K. Nelson & Company's approach to documentation is to offer a choice: we regularly provide individual interview summaries along with a thorough analysis and a summary of factual conclusions while recognizing that more abbreviated documentation may be appropriate in some instances. In short, we believe decision-makers should have the factual and contextual  information they want and need rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach which potentially limits access to important information.

  • We believe employees have rights which must be respected regardless of whether they are a complainant, the alleged wrongdoer or a witness, and regardless of the nature of the investigation.

  • We believe that protecting the rights of the complainant, respondent, and witnesses during an investigation protects the employer as well.

  • We believe investigations must be impartial and objective, and they must be conducted in good faith toward all involved.

  • We believe the fact finder must be free to pursue relevant evidence and reach conclusions based upon objective facts and credibility assessment regardless of who is involved, and regardless of the outcome.

  • We believe all of these principles are essential to a fair, just, and legally compliant workplace investigation.

The Value of Interview Summaries for Decision-Makers

  • They define the nature of the work group environment where the controversy developed

  • They help in understanding what did or did not occur in the proper context

  • They explain how events occurred and why

  • They identify what processes or systems worked or failed

  • They reveal point of view and the existence or lack of bias

  • They play an important role in credibility assessment

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