The purpose of this section is to provide you with the basic interviewing skills necessary to effectively conduct a Workplace Violence Investigation.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 16 million people have harassed annually. Workplace Violence is the 3rd leading cause of fatal occupational injuries. Thousands of employees are harassed, intimidated, threatened, and physically attacked in the workplace daily.
Failure to conduct a sufficient Workplace Violence investigation interview can lead to civil litigation for your employer and your organization. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average settlement is over $500,000. The Average jury verdict is $3 million. This leads to possible expenses for outside counsel and loss of productivity.
Objective of the Interview
The objective of your interview is to gather all of the information concerning the allegation and subsequently take the necessary action to safeguard the workplace. We recommend you create a checklist to help you throughout your interview process. Areas in which you should focus on include:
Goal of the interviews
- Identify legal/Equal Employment Opportunities (EEO) issues
- Identify potential witnesses (Witnesses play a key rule during your investigation)
- Identify timeframes and order of interviews
- Identify documents for review (i.e. HR records, social media profiles, ect.)
Interviewing the Victim, Witness, and Subject
- When conducting any type of investigative interview, it’s essential to ask the following six questions; who, what, when, where, why. While asking these questions, what you are trying to determine are the facts of the case. These questions can be very direct. We will want to ask these same questions to all parties involved; victim, witness and the subject.
- Who was involved
- What happened
- When it happened
- Where it happened
- Why it happened
- How it happened
Note: if imminent danger is present dial 911 and conduct an investigation once safety has been restored.
Sometimes a great interview is all that stands between you and a confession. During your interview process, you may be speaking with several different individuals. The questions you ask and how you present yourself, as an interviewer will vary based on the person you are interviewing. Those that you are interviewing may pay attention to how prepared you are as well as how you conduct yourself during the interview.
- Develop your line of questioning in advance
- Be sure to get answers to all of your questions
If possible have a second body to listen in on the interview
- Two heads are better than one
- A second note taker
Obtain signed statements from the witness, victim and subject
- Include date and time
- Sign as a witness
- Date and start time of each interview
- Who was present
- Keep it confidential – need to know basis
- Disclose at the start of the interview the nature of the investigation
Be appropriately honest about the general purpose of the interview and the role the individual plays “I am investigating an allegation of harassment in the workplace and need to speak with you regarding your knowledge or involvement in the incident”