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158 What do I do if I have a witness that will not participate during a workplace investigation

What Do You Do If Somebody Just Won't Participate?

#WorkplaceInvestigations #TitleVII #LynchLaw #TexasHR #HR #Legal #AustinTexas #AWI Oct. 11, 2023

Natalie Lynch is a credentialed investigator and licensed attorney, not a vlogger.

What do you do if somebody just won't participate? 

I think you just acknowledge that you cannot control them. There are reasons that people don't participate. If they're hospitalized, they're in a coma – they're not going to participate. That seems awfully excusable. And I think you document that there was a legitimate physical medical reason that the person did not participate in an investigation. And you probably need to explain that if it's a glaring hole in your investigation. 

But if somebody just refuses to come into the room, you need to understand to the best you can why.

Is it that they are afraid of you? Are they afraid of the process? Are they just so done helping the company? Whatever the reason is, again – if it's just sort of an unwillingness to participate and an unwillingness to be helpful – with the consent of your client, you need to remind them that participating in an investigation is an expectation of a job and continued employment. 

And so you can say things like, "Okay, so when I talk to my client again, I'm just going to tell them that you declined to participate in a workplace investigation." And I think, a lot of times, when people hear what that sounds like, they realize that they are being obstinate. And, a lot of times, if it's really all there is to it, they'll come around to participating.

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