Category: Complaint Handling

Compliance, Workplace Investigations, and Deflategate

The National Football League kicks off its season tonight with star quarterback Tom Brady starting under center for the defending Super Bowl Champions, the New England Patriots. It was tumultuous off-season because of a botched workplace investigation and bungled discipline. There are lessons to be learned for compliance professionals. First. I’m a long time New

GM Shows That Lying Can Be Worse Than The Problem

General Motors had a problem with its cars and didn’t fix it. Then the company apparently tried to cover up the mistake and lied about the mistake. As a result, GM lost the story and ended up with a headline of GM Lied and People Died. The problem seems to come from a mistake made

Roger Clemens and Lying to the Feds

Roger Clemens taught us another important lesson in dealing with an investigation. Never lie to the feds. Mark McGwire essentially proclaimed his guilt when he refused to answer questions about steroid use during his playing career at a congressional hearing. He may have lost in the arena of public opinion, but he will not have

Warning the Witness

At the Compliance Week 2010 conference, David Seide was nice enough to give me a copy of his new book: Warning the Witness: A Guide to Internal Investigations and the Attorney-Client Privilege. David co-wrote the book with Gary Collins, Managing Director & Director of Compliance at GE Energy Financial Services. Since the DOJ, SEC and

Portugal and Ethics Hotlines

Under guidelines published by the Portuguese Data Protection Authority on the 1st October 2009, a whistleblower cannot make a report anonymously. I have to admit that I can’t read Portuguese, so reading Deliberação Nº 765 /2009 does not help me much in interpreting the limitations. (Google translate helps.) Most EU member states allow anonymous reporting

Hiring Lawyers for Employees Under Investigation

Your company comes under investigation and specific employees are implicated. What is the right way to get lawyers for those employees? Assuming the company is picking up the cost of the lawyers, the company usually wants to have some input on the selection. A recent New Jersey case highlighted some of the issues involved for

An Effective Workplace Investigation

The California Supreme Court in Cotran v. Rollins Hudig Hall International, Inc. found that for an employer to have “good cause” to terminate an employee, the employer does not have to prove that allegations of misconduct are true, just that the employer fairly formed a reasonable belief that they were true.  So an employer must

Ruehle Decision on Internal Investigations Overturned

The Ninth Circuit stepped into a conflict between former Broadcom CFO William Ruehle and lawyers at Irell & Manella. The disagreement concerned a type of misunderstanding on whether lawyers during an internal company probe are representing a singular executive or the company itself. At issue was whether Irell clearly explained to Ruehle that it was

Associational Retaliation Claims

Most companies have some form of non-retaliation policy for employees who make a good faith report of a problem. But what if the company retaliates against someone else instead? That was the situation presented in a recent court case: Thompson v. North American Stainless. A woman and her fiancee worked at the same company. She

Corporate Miranda for Internal Company Investigations

As in-house counsel are often the ones starting an internal investigation, they need to be mindful of the same issues that appear when outside counsel are conducting an internal investigation. I wrote about the referral for discipline in the Ruehle case and the malpractice claim in Pendergast-Holt investigation in Attorney-Client Privilege and Internal Investigations. It