Let me preface by saying, the information I have presented comes from my experiences while enduring two cases (Federal and State) against my employer between 2002-2006.
First and foremost remember, if they work for the company, the Human Resources representative or the surrogate investigator is not your friend. Moreover, they are not a neutral party. They might appear to be concerned, and if you are not prepared, you may be swayed by their charm. The interview is a fishing trip!
Be aware that the interview process is grueling no matter how many times you experience it. Emotions will be high. This is why you should be prepared.
Above all – Check your feelings at the door. You are a professional. This is not the time to become emotional.
Do not go through this alone. Arrange for a witness to go with you to take notes or record the investigation. (Let them know you are recording the conversation.)
The investigator will be taking notes. Ask for a copy of the notes and check them for accuracy before you leave the meeting.
Have your statement with you.
Stick to the facts.
Be aware that some words can trigger an emotional response. “Allegedly,” for example. It might make you angry, thinking they are using this word because they do not believe you. Don’t let it bother you. It is one of the many legal terms you will hear all too often.
Sometimes the Respondent will be the person interviewing you. This is common in school systems. This is a tactic that can cause emotions to come to the forefront. Don’t let them get to you.
The best advice I can give, and it will be hard, is to check your anger at the door. Scream into a pillow or cry later.
In the next blog, you will learn what the Respondent and Witness or Witnesses may be asked.
Lorna Stremcha is the author of two books, an award-winning educator and coach, and an advocate against school/workplace abuse, bullying and domestic and sexual violence. She is a listed speaker for Bullying Police USA and was one of the first thirteen individuals to co-author the Healthy Workplace Bullying Act in the United States. Lorna’s first book, Lose the Baggage, Lose the Weight a woman-to-woman recipe for life, helps readers use their own life experiences to create positive change. Her second book, Bravery, Bullies & Blowhards lessons learned in a Montana classroom is a frank and eye-opening look inside the Montana educational system. As a Life Coach, Lorna shares her professional and life lessons with others to help them live a healthier life. Her goal is to encourage people to “Thrive not just Survive”. Mentoring is the name of the game. Plan! Love! Live!