The Science of Workplace Investigations

The Science of Workplace Investigations™

Client-Specific Training

Join organizations such as Google, the EEOC, FedEx, the United Nations, and the World Bank and train your internal investigators with the latest research-based investigations techniques.  This seminar can be delivered on-site at your location, using webcast technology, or a combination of both.

Watch Sample Video on “Myths About Deception Cues”

When investigating a “he said/she said” case of sexual harassment or other alleged misconduct, are you using scientifically-validated methods to interview witnesses, assess their credibility, and reach a defensible conclusion?

Workplace investigators often receive training on “best practices” for investigations.  Unfortunately, over the past 15 years, scientists have found that much of the conventional wisdom on how to effectively interview witnesses and determine truthfulness is wrong.  At the same time, courts have found companies liable for using scientifically unproven interviewing and other investigative techniques in workplace investigations.

In this seminar from former U.S. Department of Justice attorney Michael Johnson, you will learn about the hundreds of research studies that scientists have conducted on how to best interview witnesses and assess credibility.  You will learn how to apply these scientifically-validated methods to your investigations. By examining videos and case studies, you will learn:

  • How to utilize the “Cognitive Interview,” which is the most widely researched interviewing technique in the world
  • How many common beliefs about spotting deception are incorrect
  • How to apply research-based methods for detecting signs of deception and truthfulness
  • The legal requirements for workplace investigations
  • A 6-step process for writing clear and concise investigative reports

Presenter: Former U.S. Department of Justice lawyer Michael Johnson presents the seminar.  Michael, a graduate of Harvard Law School, was the lead attorney on one DOJ’s first class action style sexual harassment cases.  He has provided investigations training for organizations around the world, including Google, the EEOC, FedEx, the United Nations, and the World Bank.

Testimonials: Thousands of past attendees have rated this seminar 4.8 on a 5.0 scale and described the content as “eye-opening,” “engaging,” and “riveting.” This investigations training has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and New Yorker magazine.

Optional Certificate Exam: After participating in the seminar, you will have the option to take an online certificate exam.

Contact Us: To learn more about providing this investigations training to your organization, please call 703-372-0550 or submit a Contact Us form.

By examining videos and analyzing case studies, you will learn about the following topics:

Advanced Interviewing Techniques

In this section, you will learn how to apply the latest research related to investigative interviewing. Among other things, you will learn:

  • How to use a journalistic instead of a prosecutorial interview style
  • How to use the PEACE Method of investigative interviewing
  • How to use the “Funnel Method” to gather all relevant information from each witness
  • How to utilize the “Cognitive Interview,” which is the most widely researched interviewing technique in the world
  • How to use, in certain cases, advanced questioning techniques proven to make it easier to differentiate between truthful and deceptive responses, such as:
    • Asking the person to draw the event
    • Asking the person to tell you what happened in reverse order
    • Asking unexpected questions
  • Why you should never reveal to a witness that you do not believe him or her until the end of the interview (or a subsequent interview)
  • How to respectfully challenge a witness whose answers contradict other witnesses or the evidence

Examining Credibility

Scientists have found that most stereotypical beliefs about deception are incorrect. For example, liars are NOT more likely to avoid eye contact or appear fidgety. In this section of the course, you will examine numerous videos and transcripts to learn what are accurate and inaccurate cues to deception and truthfulness. Among other things, you will:

  • Test your ability to spot deception or truthfulness by watching a video of a suspect interview
  • Learn how to strategically approach “he said/she said” cases or cases where there are no eyewitnesses
  • Learn which cues to deception have been scientifically validated and which are based on myth
  • Learn why cues related to “cognitive effort” are much more predictive of deception than cues related to nervousness
  • Learn cues to deception and truthfulness related to verbal content and verbal style
  • Learn linguistic cues to deception and truthfulness
  • Learn the few non-verbal cues that are associated with deception

Legal Requirements of Workplace Investigations

By analyzing several case studies, you will receive step-by-step guidance on how to handle difficult legal and practical dilemmas that investigators often face. Among other things, you will learn the answers to the following questions:

  • How many investigators should be present during an investigative interview?
  • What do I do if an employee refuses to be interviewed or otherwise cooperate?
  • What should I do if the accused brings an attorney, co-worker, or friend to the investigative interview?
  • Under what circumstances should I reveal the names of witnesses?
  • What are the factors to consider in imposing discipline?

Writing Investigative Reports

You will learn, among other things:

  • How to use the investigative report to plan and continually update your investigation strategy
  • What to include, and not include, in the report to ensure that it is legally defensible
  • How to best document facts and credibility determinations
  • How to maintain attorney-client privilege, where applicable
  • How to overcome “writer’s block” to greatly increase the speed at which you write
  • How to write a report that is not only comprehensive but also clear and concise

Role-Play Exercises

In the two-day course, you will participate in two role-play exercises where each attendee gets to practice the interviewing and other investigation techniques learned in the course.

Contact Us: To learn more about providing this investigations training to your organization, please call 703-372-0550 or submit a Contact Us form.

Michael Johnson

About Mr. Johnson

  • CEO of Clear Law Institute
  • Former U.S. Department of Justice lawyer, where he brought one of DOJ’s first class action style sexual harassment cases
  • Has provided investigations training for hundreds of organizations around the world such as Google, the EEOC, the United Nations, and the World Bank
  • Has served as an expert witness in cases challenging the adequacy of employer investigations
  • His investigative approach has been featured in articles in the Wall Street Journal and New Yorker magazine
  • Graduate of Duke University and Harvard Law School.

Contact Us: To learn more about providing this investigations training to your organization, please call 703-372-0550 or submit a Contact Us form.

Testimonials

Michael Johnson has provided investigations training to thousands of professionals at organizations around the world. Past evaluations of his sessions have averaged 4.8 on a 5.0 scale. We’ve included below testimonials from some of his investigation trainings.

  • “Michael’s style is engaging, if not riveting. He knows how to keep the audience involved and thinking, remains open to questions and differing opinions, and encourages audience interaction. He brings the subject to life and illustrates questions in a meaningful way.”
  • “The speaker’s presentation style made the session very enjoyable and the content was fantastic as it really challenged how we have been trained over the years.”
  • “Mr. Johnson was a complete surprise and delight and obviously knows his stuff. I have been in those situations where obviously someone is not telling the truth but how to tell?!! This was not only educational but entertaining!”
  • “He is an exceptional speaker and very knowledgeable. Enjoyed the case studies and interaction with the audience. His use of humor is wonderful too.”
  • “It was very enjoyable and eye-opening. Everything we’ve been taught is challenged, and important information was provided to assist in investigations.”
  • “Very interactive, presented with humor (that keeps everyone engaged). There were videos to view with scenarios. Superb.”
  • “Good practical examples of real life situations – made for easier application of material and best practices material.”
  • “The presenter was engaging and drew upon the fact that many of us actually have performed many investigations – getting us to admit our challenges and showing us how to address them.”
  • “The session was effectively presented and it was clear how I can apply these principles in my investigations right away.”

Contact Us: To learn more about providing this investigations training to your organization, please call 703-372-0550 or submit a Contact Us form.

Certificate Exam

For no additional cost, you will have the option to certify that you have learned to apply the most up-to-date research on investigative techniques by taking an online certificate exam after participating in the seminar.  The exam consists of 50 questions that cover the seminar content.  You may take the exam at your convenience after viewing the seminar videos.  You must correctly answer 80% or more of the questions to pass.  You may take the exam multiple times, if necessary, to pass.

Contact Us: To learn more about providing this investigations training to your organization, please call 703-372-0550 or submit a Contact Us form.

Logistics

While client-specific training is most often delivered on-site, we can also deliver the training using Clear Law Institute’s or your organization’s webcast technologies.  Also, the session can be recorded so that new investigators can take the client-specific training before they conduct an investigation.

Contact Us: To learn more about providing this investigations training to your organization, please call 703-372-0550 or submit a Contact Us form.

Credits

Human Resources

The course has been pre-approved for re-certification credit by SHRM and the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI).

Lawyers

Numerous state bar associations have approved the course for CLE credit.  We will seek CLE credit in any state at no cost to the attendee.

CCB Compliance Certifications (CCEP, CHC, CHRC)

We believe this course is eligible for Compliance Continuing Education Credit. After completing the course, you will receive instructions for submitting the course to the Compliance Certification Board (CCB). This education activity has not been submitted to the Compliance Certification Board (CCB)®for review or approval of its educational content. Please contact [email protected] directly regarding the applications and documentation necessary to submit applicable compliance related education to CCB for their review.

Contact Us: To learn more about providing this investigations training to your organization, please call 703-372-0550 or submit a Contact Us form.

Clients

Companies

  • Google
  • Accenture
  • Ernst & Young
  • FedEx
  • Lockheed Martin

International Organizations

  • United Nations (New York, Congo, Sierra Leone)
  • World Bank
  • Inter-American Development Bank

Government Agencies

  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
  • U.S. Department of the Interior
  • Social Security Administration
  • Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, DC

Contact Us: To learn more about providing this investigations training to your organization, please call 703-372-0550 or submit a Contact Us form.

Investigations Training Consultation

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