What do I do about public attention to my investigation during a workplace investigation?
Jan. 2, 2023
What do you do if your investigation gets public attention or the issue shows up in the media?
You need to acknowledge that most investigators do not also make good PR reps. Your job is to be accountable to your client to conduct a reasonable workplace investigation that will stand the scrutiny of a court of law, which in many, many regards is different than the scrutiny of public opinion.
And so, since you are a well-trained investigator in ensuring that investigations withstand the scrutiny of law, you should again acknowledge that you probably are not an excellent PR rep for your client. So if you come to be aware that your investigation or the nature of your inquiry is receiving media attention or public awareness, you need to report that back to your client.
You need to make sure that your client is giving you obvious instructions about how to handle anything that you can't avoid. So news reporters are waiting outside your front door in the morning, and they are waiting for you to leave in the evening. If somebody emails you, either write back and say, "I can't respond," or ignore the email.
But what if somebody does catch you off-guard? How should you handle that? You've got to get that instruction from your client because they own the PR around this issue, not you as the investigator.