Whistleblower Compliance

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  • 1.  Investigating HR Issues

    Posted 14 days ago

    Hi All,

    When reports come in about Discrimination, Harassment, Hostile Working Environment, etc., how are they investigated?  Historically, Compliance has assigned those to HR to investigate, and they have done a good job unless it's related to one specific business unit that tends to get a lot of unsubstantiated cases (likely embellishing stories or false allegations because employees aren't getting along).  If HR doesn't think it's a high risk, they don't make the investigation a priority.  I've tried working with them offering to investigate low risk cases myself, but they seem to want control over all of these calls (while still not making them a priority).

    The head of my department is pushing that I investigate these claims and keep HR in the loop as needed, since Compliance controls the hotline and has discretion on assignments.  While I think that is a good way to get these reports investigated more promptly, a) not discussing that with HR first will cause a rift, and b) if I discuss it with HR first, they won't go for it.

    I'm trying to get a feel for how these types of claims are handled in many organizations.


    Tara Martin
    Director, Ethics & Compliance
    Delek US Holdings, Inc.
    SCCE Membership

  • 2.  RE: Investigating HR Issues

    Posted 14 days ago
    Managing relationships with HR can be tricky when either side views the investigation as falling within their area.  If the matter is not managed well, it deteriorates into little more than a turf battle.

    The reality is that you both share responsibility for these topics because they are core HR matters that fall within the Code of Conduct.  Additionally, because Compliance manages the hotline, Compliance has an obligation to the Board and senior management and the auditors (if you are publicly traded) to ensure that each report is resolved appropriately.

    So your "hook" is to focus on the proper resolution of the report.  This is achieved with an investigations infrastructure:
    1. An internal investigations policy for the organization
    2. A standard operating procedure for how reports are triaged, given a preliminary assessment, and a resolution strategy is determined.
    3. An investigations protocol that details the steps by which an investigation is conducted.
    4. Templates for consistent and reliable outcomes
    5. Training for people who conduct investigations so that you have a baseline competence
    6. Coaching and oversight for investigators to assist them on a real-time basis.
    These steps will bypass the politics because you are focusing on quality resolutions.

    Feel free to contact me if you want more information and ideas.  My email is mericbloch@gmail.com.


    Meric Craig Bloch

    3919 Executive Drive

    Palm Harbor, Florida 34685 

    Tel  +1 203 710 2872


    SCCE Membership

  • 3.  RE: Investigating HR Issues

    Posted 14 days ago
    And to support Meric’s good advice, your relationship with the board of directors should require you to report to the board any instance where you believe the compliance program requirements are not being followed. (If people call the helpline and nothing happens, they will not call when more series violations occur. This can be a disaster for compliance and for the company.) In discussions with HR they can understand that you have no option - if the protocols are not followed you must report that to the board. Merely the fact that people know you have to do this can deter HR and others from simply brushing you off.

    SCCE Membership