Whether it’s your VP of HR, a department manager or an outside investigator, can you be sure your workplace investigator won’t jeopardize the investigation by sharing too much information? We all believe that our people know better than to share the details of an investigation with anyone who does not have a business need to know. But sharing information at the wrong time, even with the right people, can still jeopardize the investigation.
An article published today in the Employment Discrimination Report, by Fox Rothschild LLP, clearly shows that the need for confidentiality is something that must be reiterated again and again. In brief, the House Intelligence Chairman, Devin Nunes, publicly spoke of evidence found during the investigation with the White House before presenting that information to the committee overseeing the investigation. Nunes has since recused himself from the investigation and is facing ethics charges due to his actions.
Although it is easy to judge and state that Nunes should have known better than to release this information, the information was only shared with those who seemingly could have a “business need to know” the information. However, sharing this information prior to the conclusion of the investigation was a breach of protocol. Proving that the timing of sharing information is every bit as important as with whom it is shared.
Yes, this is the government and you are likely working in a company with much less risk and exposure. But the rules still apply. Unless there is a safety risk involved based on the information uncovered, findings should not be shared until the investigation is complete. And then, only with those who truly have a business need to know.
Need more guidance on the roles and responsibilities of your investigation team? Watch for information on the new ebook from InvestiPro to be released in May.