External whistleblowers, government regulators and private litigants increasingly target and expose employee misconduct that goes unchecked by all types of organizations – public and private companies, schools and universities, and even non-profits. The best defense against these threats is a deeply embedded culture of ethics and compliance, at the heart of which is an effective internal system to raise and remedy issues of noncompliance without fear of retaliation.

Setting up a hotline may be an important first step, but an effective investigation program requires much more. Internal investigation programs succeed when organizations thoughtfully build the function into their operational structure, create critical reporting and risk-feedback loops to stakeholders, establish protocols for triaging high and low-risk matters, train their investigative staff, follow consistent investigative guidelines, proactively manage legal privilege, avoid data privacy and employment law risks, and implement remedial actions to enhance their overall compliance program.

When the investigation program succeeds, the business benefits. Successful programs encourage internal reports from knowledgeable employees – the best source of information about your business activities. In addition, they reduce internal risks and external whistleblower claims, foster continuous business process improvement, reduce costs, avoid retaliation, and improve employee engagement. At the same time, the government, your shareholders, customers, and clients all expect, and often demand, prompt and meaningful resolution of your business’s internal misconduct. Whether large or small, public or private, every enterprise needs capable personnel to triage reports of noncompliance, properly investigate them, implement remedial measures, and advise leadership about key risk areas.

Littler offers a broad range of internal investigation services to help you find a solution that’s right for your organization. Our attorneys have the legal skills and experience to design a full life-cycle program for investigation management – including in-house experience at global enterprises. Littler attorneys regularly review employers’ investigation functions, design practical mechanisms, and develop investigation guidelines and escalation protocols to help create knowledgeable leadership oversight of the compliance program. When you need seasoned legal guidance or training of your investigative workforce, Littler has the experience to advise your personnel or train them in investigation procedures. And Littler’s investigation team can step in to advise on, support, oversee, or conduct investigations of misconduct on code of conduct issues.

Our suite of investigation services includes:

  • Risk assessments of your internal investigation function and resources
  • Legal advice and guidance during internal investigative matters
  • Conducting high-risk investigations of code of conduct issues (e.g., anti-bribery, fraud, financial malfeasance, theft, criminal misconduct, significant executive misconduct, misuse of confidential information, misuse of technology)
  • Design and development of investigation systems to fit your business and compliance program
    • Implementing intake channels, reporting hotlines, and case management procedures
    • Drafting and implementing investigation guidelines and templates
    • Designing high-risk investigation protocols
    • Crafting internal escalation definitions for leadership and for internal and external audit functions
    • Compiling trends and key matter reports and analyses
    • Reviewing, revising, and strengthening codes of conduct and related policies
    • Creating internal compliance communications
  • Training internal investigation personnel

Investigations Contacts

Speaking Engagements

Best Practices for Conducting International Internal Investigations

HR Acuity webinar

September 10, 2019 | Donald C. Dowling

NotYouToo: Conducting Workplace Investigations in the Aftermath of #MeToo

SHRM Legal Insights Conference, San Diego, CA

November 7, 2018 | K. Sage Fahimi