What Do You Do to Admonish the Accused?
What do you do to let your accused individual know that they are the accused in your investigation? I've talked about in other interviews, how I am very careful, never to bring other interviews into a current interview. And that includes the reporting party's interview into the accused interview. And so I will never say "Betty accused you of harassment." I'm going to say things like "there have been allegations in the workplace that you treat people differently because of their race. And I want to talk to you about those things." I let the accused know what is happening and that this is their opportunity to explain what happened or why something happened. Sometimes it really just is a logistical misunderstanding, and that can only be explained from the vantage point of the accused person, but it's also that person's opportunity to apologize if that's what needs to happen.
But at the end of the day, you're a neutral, unbiased third party. And you've come there to do an investigation and to get all the facts and includes getting the facts from the accused. You can also tell the person, like you tell everybody else, you have the right to end this interview at any time. I hope you don't. And if you do, I am going to ask you why you're ending it. Also, your employer probably expects you to do a complete investigative interview with you. But at the end of the day, if you need to end it, we just need to end åit. And I'm going to ask you why, and then allow that to happen.