Conducting Internal Investigations of Executives for Workplace Misconduct: Legal and Ethical Considerations

Determining Who Should Conduct Investigation, Navigating Right To Counsel, Privilege, Privacy and Joint Defense Issues

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Thursday, July 13, 2017
Recorded event now available

This CLE webinar will provide guidance to employment counsel for identifying and addressing the myriad legal, strategic and ethical issues that commonly arise when conducting internal investigations of executives accused of workplace misconduct.


There has been a steady increase in investigations of high-level executives at major corporations over the past few years, with allegations ranging from sexual harassment to concealing fraudulent business practices. When an employer becomes aware that an allegation has been brought against one of its executives, it must make a number of legal and strategic decisions regarding how to properly investigate the alleged conduct.

Employers conducting internal investigations of executives must determine the appropriate person or committee to conduct the investigation, the proper timing, the appropriate scope of the investigation, and which documents should be subject to a document hold. In addition, employers must evaluate such issues as the executive’s right to counsel, as well as privilege, privacy and joint defense issues.

Failing to anticipate and prepare for the myriad legal, ethical and even public relations issues that accompany allegations against executives can exacerbate the situation and complicate matters for the employer.

Listen as our authoritative panel of experienced practitioners outlines effective approaches for managing internal investigations of executives for workplace misconduct.


  1. Latest developments regarding allegations against executives
  2. Preparing for the internal investigation
    1. Who should conduct the internal investigation?
    2. Timing of investigation
    3. Scope of investigation
    4. Documents to be placed under document hold
  3. Conducting the investigation
    1. Interviewing the executive
    2. Executive’s right to counsel, indemnification, fee advancement
    3. Preserving privileges
    4. Privacy issues
    5. Public relations issues
  4. Post-investigation best practices
    1. Reporting results of investigation
    2. Remediation measures


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What challenges do employers typically face when an executive faces allegations of workplace misconduct?
  • What rights and privileges are implicated in internal investigations of executives—and how can employers avoid compromising any protections under the law?
  • What best practices should employment counsel set in place when planning for and conducting an internal investigation of an executive?


Lynne Eisaguirre, Founder
Workplaces that Work, Denver


Rachel Fendell Satinsky, Esq.
Littler Mendelson, Philadelphia

Ms. Satinsky dedicates her practice to employment litigation and counseling. She advises clients on an array of issues including hiring and terminations, leaves of absence, accommodations, harassment, and other matters related to federal and state discrimination and civil rights laws. Ms. Satinsky partners with clients to draft policies, procedures, and processes that are tailored to clients’ business needs and workforce. She regularly advises and represents companies in matters involving the enforcement of restrictive covenants and the protection of trade secrets.

Lorene F. Schaefer, Managing Partner
Schaefer and Associates, Atlanta

Ms. Schaefer has over 26-years of experience and has spearheaded hundreds of complex and sensitive investigations into allegations of misconduct, including sexual harassment, retaliation, discrimination, and violations of company policy. She uses proven investigative techniques to gather detailed facts, analyze relevant data, and provide sound, reasoned findings of fact. Ms. Schaefer’s findings of fact provide the foundation for the “honest belief” defense, which in many jurisdictions protects employers from liability for discrimination and retaliation claims if the employer is able to demonstrate there was a reasonable, honest belief that the action being challenged was justified.


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