What Do I Do when I Cannot Reach Investigative Conclusions?
Aug. 19, 2021
What do you do if you can't figure out what happened? What do you do if you are not coming to investigative conclusions? First of all, sometimes that happens. Second of all, it doesn't happen nearly as often as you think, because you probably can come to some investigative conclusions. As a reminder, you are only required to get to 50% and a hair, that's our civil standard, right? Tipping the scales just the tiniest bit on a workplace investigation is all we have to do. Of course, everybody wants to get a hundred percent certainty, but sometimes that's just not possible. But when you're reporting back to your client, either doing your debrief or writing your report, you tell them, "My investigative findings are weak, but it is more likely than not that ..." whatever you're finding is.
And sometimes it can really help to talk out your investigation with someone. So a peer, somebody else who does investigations in particular is super helpful with that. Sometimes outlining to begin your report can help you realize, “oh yeah, that's how these facts actually line up. I guess it is slightly more likely.” And at the end of the day, sometimes it comes down to counting. Five people think it happened, four people think it didn't happen. As the investigator I am reporting that it is more likely than not that these people are right and those are not rightt. And sometimes that's as much as we can do as investigators, but if the results are somewhat uncertain, you report that they're uncertain and that those are, in fact, your investigative findings and that's what we do.