How To Keep Confidential Investigations Within Your Organization

Resolving internal conflicts quietly should be the final goal of any organization, and keeping private matters private prevents them from potentially embarrassing situations. Do you want to learn more about how to keep confidential investigations private? Let’s continue reading.

Information can either make or break any person or organization. This is why sensitive information should be protected whenever an investigation is happening. No company wants to damage its reputation as well as its employees. 

How Important Is Confidential Information?

Confidential information should be considered private, proprietary, and protected legally. This type of information is also referred to as sensitive information. It can take many forms; however, here are the most common types to help you recognize them if you face the same situation. 

  • Personal information of an individual such as a home address, Social Security details, health and benefits records, etc. This information is also known as PII or Personal Identifiable Information. 
  • Financial information such as credit card or bank account numbers, sources of revenue, losses, and even expenses. 
  • Client records, such as contact details and previous order statements.
  • Operational data like pricing policies, inventory records, and marketing strategies.
  • Proprietary information involves research details and trade secrets.
  • Strategic planning details, including development opportunities, acquisitions, and internal processes.

Confidential information is prone to be involved in internal investigations, whether advertently or inadvertently, which is why it must be treated with critical importance. 

What Is Confidential Investigations

A confidential investigation is an examination of finding probable cause that involves both oral or written evidence that should not be revealed to any third party by any person or individual involved in the investigation unless requested by the defendant. Likewise, most companies are taking advantage of the benefits of hiring private investigators when solving internal conflicts. 

How To Conduct Confidential Investigation

Ethnic businessman shaking hand of applicant in office

Whenever an investigation is conducted, sensitive information must be kept confidential. This standard should be maintained and highly recommended by the Code of Practice set by the Ministry of Labour. Here are some valuable tips to keep in mind whenever there’s a workplace investigation. 

Seek legal counsel

This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to secure sensitive information. Legal counsel should be available before and during the whole investigation process. Lawyers can help provide guidelines and parameters for identifying and documenting when preparing for litigation. 

In addition, lawyers are bound by attorney-client privileges and can work with witnesses and the investigation team throughout the process.

Only use legal communication channels

While text and chat messages are commonly used communication channels for easy collaboration within the workplace, they’re the favorite items that lawyers want to gather for evidence during an internal investigation. For this reason, the counsel and investigators need to use legal or formal communication channels until the end of the investigation. 

Set specific location to work on

The investigation team needs to collect countless documents during the whole process. Setting up a specific location to do the physical work is essential when maintaining data and records. Although it’s helpful to use tools to organize your data when managing legal parameters, you’ll still have to work with countless physical documents throughout the process.

Moreover, it’s best to use capable cybersecurity protection for electronic documents. This will ensure the safety of the evidence without compromise. The more layers of protection added it would show the organization’s seriousness to keep every sensitive information from being exposed with or without confidential or private investigations.

Make sure you document the whole process

Detailed documentation of the investigation process is critical in protecting sensitive information, especially with your legal counsel, including the work product doctrine and attorney-client privileges. Without careful documentation, you’ll have problems with the opposing counsel concerning confidential information.

Internal investigators and counsel must establish the purpose and scope of the investigation, which is why keeping written records private is critical. Likewise, it’s the counsel’s responsibility to inform witnesses about the purpose of the investigation to prepare them for litigation or provide them with legal advice before every interview.

Provide a script for investigators and interviewers

Counsels must not expect employees or executives to understand every detail of investigations. This is why it’s essential for the legal counsel to provide a script that would prevent the client from making unnecessary actions that would affect the process. To alleviate this risk, the legal counsel should provide a script for investigators to read before each interview. 

The Bottom Line

Confidential investigations can potentially damage a company or its employees if not done properly. This is why companies must learn how to resolve internal conflicts privately, otherwise, they could end up in a potentially embarrassing situation. The key is to seek legal counsel to prevent any unforeseen consequences that otherwise could have been prevented.

Do you want to any questions about investigations? Contact us so we can provide you with the right legal advice.