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How to Conduct an Internal Ethics Investigation

Author: John Sarno, Employer's Association of New Jersey

An essential element in the long-term success strategy of any business organization is the development and implementation of an ethics program to reduce the possibility of potentially harmful unethical practices in the workplace.

Critical to this process is conducting an investigation into unethical practices.

Such an investigation ensures compliance with the program and will provide a defense for the organization against governmental investigations or private lawsuits.

As with any internal investigation, a workplace ethics investigation should follow a predetermined protocol to ensure consistency and fairness in the results.

Investigators should possess the necessary expertise to conduct the investigation in accordance with the nature of the alleged violation.

If the results of the investigation dictate that corrective measures be taken, it is important that the "punishment fit the crime" when meting it out.

Also, confidentiality for all parties involved in the investigation should be maintained to the greatest extent possible.

This How To should be read in conjunction with How to Implement an Ethics Program.