This is another topic about which I’ve written previously. If I recall correctly, the last time was when an executive I knew was accused of creating a hostile work environment. When I reviewed all the documents in the case, including all the interviews by the investigator, it became clear to me that the investigation was poorly conducted with the investigator looking only for those things that supported the allegations and rejecting any information that would support a finding of innocence, or mis-understanding.
When I do the investigation/evaluation, I take the time to do a thorough process and have saved several people’s jobs and helped to avoid several wrongful termination lawsuits by finding more realistic solutions to the problem (let the punishment fit the crime!)
It happened again recently. Instead of due process, or even listening to the point of view of the person being accused, all people conducting the investigation parroted the information received by the first person (an amateur) who did the investigation. Facts didn’t matter. Truth didn’t matter. A job was lost because of really poor investigation processes.
So, my advice again: BE NEUTRAL. Be prepared to listen to the reasoning of the person being accused. Often the “crime” is merely a mis-understanding that can easily be corrected, or a mis-interpretation of the facts. Don’t over-react. Don’t be so sure that the beginning information is the complete story. Don’t assume the worst. BE NEUTRAL. Be careful. Be thorough. Give the people involved the benefit of the doubt and full due process.