How To Avoid Botching Your Internal Investigation

Law360
May 22, 2014


Jordan A. Thomas notes that a successful internal investigation includes whistleblowers who have not been retaliated against or perceived retaliation

While not all of the retaliation may be real, what's important is that it is perceived, according to Jordan Thomas, who is chair of Labaton's whistleblower practice. Since the majority of people who report wrongdoing do so internally first,  companies have an obligation to make sure they take care of those employees — before they go elsewhere, Thomas said.

"Responsible companies have established anti-retaliation policies in place and take the time at the beginning of their investigation to communicate them to those being investigated, their supervisors and other relevant stakeholders," Thomas said.

He said that while organizations may not be explicitly retaliating against whistleblowers, employees may perceive unrelated personnel decisions — like moving them to a different department — as a negative response to them having come forward.

Organizations "need to follow up with the cooperating witnesses and whistleblowers to ensure they have not been retaliated against or perceived retaliation," Thomas said. "That's the part where many organizations aren't doing a good job."