Workplace investigations into regulatory compliance and whistleblowing complaints are increasingly common. We assist lawyers who are experienced in handling sensitive and high-profile workplace investigations. We work collaboratively with them on behalf of their clients to find the most effective course of action.
Tips for handling whistleblowing investigations:
- Have effective procedures that allow for whistleblowing.
- Establish communication with the whistleblower as soon as possible; don’t risk the employee losing confidence in your whistleblower system.
- Interview the whistleblower at the outset of an investigation, to gather as much detail as possible and help scope the investigation.
- Remember there doesn’t need to be any wrongdoing, but, did the whistleblower believe the wrongdoing was taking place?
- Consider who may be proximate to the allegations; those involved in the misconduct may not always be named by the whistleblower.
- Initiate the internal investigation promptly, if there is sufficient evidence to indicate that a violation has occurred.
- Decide who should be involved in the investigation; the team should include at least in-house legal and/or external counsel and HR (if not proximate to the allegation), and preferably an independent, external investigator/skilled interviewer.
News (January 2024): the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced SDNY’s criminal enforcement priorities for 2024. In addition, U.S. Attorney Williams announced the creation of a Whistleblower Pilot Program designed to proactively uncover criminal conduct in the District.