What to do when the Feds knock: What HR Professional needs to know to effectively manage internal investigations

Kevin Techau Head ShotBy: Kevin W. Techau

HR professionals and company leadership teams across all industries and businesses are confronted every day with evidence or allegations of potential wrongdoing at their companies. These scenarios may range from notification of a government investigation into allegations of violations of federal law by the corporation or senior management to a routine internal complaint of violations of the employee code of conduct or other company policy. HR professionals can play a pivotal role in deciding whether and how to conduct an internal investigation.  In many instances the company will be best served by conducting some type of internal investigation into the allegations. However, it is important to understand that if the government knocks, the investigation is likely to be complex, broad and invasive to the business operation and will require different skills than routine investigations. This presentation by a former United States Attorney with front-line experience in leading criminal investigations and internal investigations in the workplace will start with a careful review of the factors involved in the decision of whether to initiate an internal investigation. Tips will be given in selecting the right investigator and suggestions how to minimize business disruption and cost associated with collecting, reviewing and producing information in a government related investigation. Suggestions on how to handle employee interviews, subpoenas, search warrants, press coverage and other topics related to the HR company role in internal investigations will be covered.

Presentation Objectives:

  • Provide an overview of what HR professionals may see regarding evidence or allegations of potential wrongdoing at their companies.
  • Discuss scenarios ranging from notification of a government investigation; allegations of violations of federal law by the corporation or senior management.
  • Provide an overview of how HR professionals can play a pivotal role in deciding whether and how to conduct an internal investigation.
  • Provide an overview of the factors involved in deciding whether to initiate an internal investigation.
  • Provide tips for selecting the right investigator and suggestions on how to minimize business disruption and cost associated with collecting, reviewing and producing information in a government related investigation.
  • Provided tips on how to handle employee interviews, subpoenas, search warrants, press coverage when an internal investigation has started.

About the Speaker:
Kevin W. Techau is an attorney with the Smith, Mills & Schrock. He is chair of the firm’s Government Compliance, Internal Investigations & Municipal Defense practice. He previously served as the presidentially appointed United States Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa 2014-2017. As chief federal law enforcement official for the District, he organized and led the Eastern Iowa Opioid Initiative. Kevin’s 30-year public/private career includes service as Commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety and Director of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals in Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack’s cabinet and seven years as Associate General Counsel at American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company. He retired as a Colonel with 27 years of total military service including seven years on active duty with the United States Air Force as a Judge Advocate, and 20 years of service with the Iowa Air National Guard upon retirement he was awarded the Legion of Merit Medal.

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