There are several good reasons to hire an outside expert to conduct an employee misconduct investigation. The first is that having an independent expert, who is trained in investigations, and is not subject to internal influences and lacks any perception of a connection to a specific outcome of the case greatly enhances the credibility of the investigation. It also removes any stress that would be placed on an employee who would be tasked to interview co-workers about another co-worker. There is also good reason to use a licensed professional investigator to conduct employee misconduct investigations rather than an attorney. It is likely that a qualified investigator can be retained for significantly less money, but more importantly, utilizing an attorney to conduct the investigation often heightens the tension and makes employees and outside sources more apprehensive inasmuch as it implies that litigation, courtrooms, judges, and punishment are imminent. Lastly, hiring a professional investigator to conduct employee misconduct investigations is likely going to produce a far better result. Professional investigators who engage in employee misconduct investigations, like sexual harassment, asset misuse, theft and inappropriate behavior, on a daily basis are simply far more effective and more likely to produce results that have less room for misinterpretation or speculation.
We often find that HR departments will look to a law firm for help when an employee misconduct investigation is required. Although attorneys are an essential part of the process, they are only one tool available, and not always the right one. Some clients like the idea of having an attorney handle these matters solely because of the attorney-client privilege. What they often don’t realize is that as Michigan private investigators, or Professional Investigators as we are technically called, we offer a privilege with our clients that is just as strong as that of an attorney. We cannot be compelled to produce our records or testify even if subpoenaed by a state prosecutor!