An investigative report is extremely important for an organization. Learn to get it right.



Writing the investigative report is among the most important aspects of an internal investigation. Contrary to the belief that it is all about just putting the contents of the investigation to paper; writing the investigative report starts from the time the investigation itself starts. It ends only when the investigation ends. An investigative report that carries even the smallest of blemishes or oversights can have the potential of turning the course of the investigation on its head.

A wrongly intended or attributed word at a crucial part of the investigative report can change the fate of the investigation and give the employee the opportunity to take the employer to court, giving the termination a prejudicial or retaliatory twist. She can also approach forums such as the EEOC or the State human rights department for redressal, bringing up a case against the employer for wrongful investigation leading to the termination or dismissal.

Legally safe way of conducting investigations and writing reports

So, the need for the complete correctness of the investigative report can never be overstated. If the investigation has to be seen as being free of malice towards the employee, the investigative report has to completely adhere to the legal requirements. It should be very strong and unassailable from the legal perspective.

The legal department and HR have to ensure that all the due legal processes have been adhered to in the course of the investigation to show that it is legally defensible. The credibility of each of the staff and other people interviewed at the investigation has to be ascertained and established. The fullest possible evidence has to be collected and corroborated before the investigation reaches its conclusion. This is the only course that can save the organization from being sued for wrongful investigation. Proper and effective investigation reporting has to reflect all these.

Elements of a thorough investigative report

A properly written investigative report should ideally contain the following characteristics:

  • Determining whether the investigated misconduct violates any laws or policies is the basis of a thoroughly written investigative report. This is something that the investigators should decide after thoroughly analyzing the case in all its depth and understanding the legal aspects of investigation
  • The findings should be presented in an objective, accurate and concise manner and should be documented and preserved
  • An in-depth comprehensive investigative report should try to minimize the organization’s liability to the extent possible.

A leaning session on the nuances of investigative reports

All these and other related aspects of a good investigative report will be the learning a webinar from TrainHR, a leading provider of professional trainings for the HR industry, will be offering. At this webinar, Dr. Susan Strauss, a national and international speaker, trainer, consultant and a recognized expert on workplace and school harassment and bullying, who has authored more than 30 books, book chapters, and journal articles on harassment, bullying and related topics, will be the speaker.

To understand all the elements of investigative report in all its depth, please register for this webinar by visiting This webinar has been approved for 1 HR (General) recertification credit hours toward aPHR, PHR, PHRca, SPHR, GPHR, PHRi and SPHRi recertification through HR Certification Institute (HRCI).

At this webinar, Dr. Strauss will explain the intricacies of how to write that critical final report of an investigation that may be presented to the courts and the opposing lawyers. The need for meticulousness of this report is very acute. Dr. Strauss will give this understanding to the participants of this webinar. Participants will gain in a number of ways. They will:

  • Receive an in-depth outline of the critical elements in an investigative report
  • Understand what needs to be documented regarding credibility of each witness, target, and the accused
  • Be able to identify how to document corroborated evidence
  • Learn how to draw conclusions, which must be included in the report to minimize liability.

Dr. Strauss will cover the following areas at this webinar:

  • Discuss the critical elements of the investigative report
  • List frequently missing elements from reports
  • Appraise credibility of each interviewee
  • Describe how to reach conclusions

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