Corporate Internal Investigations: A Strong Response

It can happen to any company.
A few rogue employees break the rules and put the whole company at risk. Could be anything. Theft from a customer, grossly unprofessional conduct, or illegal activities at the workplace. Now, the company might face a potential lawsuit, government investigation, fines, or, worst of all, criminal indictment.
Government agents, armed with grand jury subpoenas for documents and testimony, could come knocking any minute.
Your company can clam up and retreat into a shell.
Or, it can take control of the problem by having an experienced attorney, from outside the company, conduct a confidential internal investigation on behalf of the company. Such an investigation will be designed to identify and stop the bad conduct and root out those responsible for it.
It will also be designed to identify existing problematic security and personnel issues which helped allow the conduct to occur in the first place.
Why an outside attorney? Can’t human resources or in-house counsel handle the investigation?
Properly done, an attorney’s work will be shielded by the attorney client privilege and work product protections, allowing for a full and thorough internal review.
The company can then decide whether to share its internal findings with government investigators, gain credit for cooperating, and hopefully reduce or avoid potential fines or other punishment.
In addition, the government will view an outside attorney as having more credibility than the company’s Human Resources manager or in-house counsel, who may lack independence or want to “help” the company in their review.
The government will therefore be more likely to view the findings of an outside attorney’s investigation as credible and reliable.
In the end, whether the government has faith that your company’s internal investigation is objective, independent, credible and reliable can make all the difference in whether potential damage to the company can be minimized and, in potentially dire situations, the company and its principals can avoid a financial and personal catastrophe.
A swift and robust internal investigation by an experienced outside counsel can be the company’s best response to bad employee conduct.
If your company suspects or has discovered employee conduct that could potentially put the company in legal jeopardy, contact Fox, O’Neill and Shannon to discuss the available options to protect your company, and the safeguards which should be put in place to avoid future risks.