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"What Do I Do if Someone Will Not Give Me the Name of A Witness?" title card

What Do I Do if Someone Will Not Give Me the Name of A Witness?

Aug. 26, 2021

What do you do if someone will not tell you the name of a witness or the name of somebody else who's experienced similar behavior? There is this idea, that I think starts for us at the playground, that we shouldn't be a tattletale or we shouldn't be a nark. And it comes into the workplace and people don't want to name other people or get other people involved in investigations. And as an investigator, it's important to be able to overcome that. And one of the ways that we do it is we ask people why they won't tell us the name of somebody. And sometimes just by asking the question, just by pushing back gently, the person has a second to think and they'll give you a name. But other times people will tell you things. They say that they're afraid of retaliation. And you can ask more questions about that. That's a real issue. The EEO tells us year over year, that retaliation is the number one most pursued claim that they investigate. So retaliation can be a real thing for a lot of people.

But the other thing that comes up is that we engage with people and we tell them, "Your employer brought you here today with the expectation that you will be open and honest with me. And I'm asking you to tell me the name of the person who witnessed that thing because somebody else is being victimized by this." And I won't always go into the victimization thing, because sometimes it's not pertinent or sometimes it's sort of too dramatic to be pertinent. But at the end of the day, I'm not there because things are good in the workplace. I'm there because somebody is allegedly being victimized. And if you won't help me understand how to address this, then somebody is going to continue to get victimized in the workplace. Those are a handful of the ways that we get people to give us names of witnesses who have observed things.