An effective compliance program cannot exist without the ability to conduct effective internal investigations. However, internal investigations bring with them a great deal of risk and thus should be undertaken with care and consideration. Appoint an individual who has the knowledge and experience to coordinate and handle any pitfalls of an internal investigation.
Taking enough time to prepare beforehand is crucial to an investigation’s effectiveness. Begin by breaking down the process into manageable issues and determining the resources necessary to find the desired information. Then plot a roadmap toward collecting enough information to draw conclusions and make recommendations.
Internal investigations should be managed to with the end goal in mind of discovering the facts and reporting them for corporate decision-making – a goal that can be accomplished without compromising basic fairness in dealing with employees. The application of the attorney/client and work product privileges is also important to the conduct of internal investigations; care should be taken to make sure the applicable privileges will be upheld if challenged at a later date.