EEO, Investigations, Training

Now Available: 32-Hour Online EEO Investigator Certification

We are very excited to announce that today, Friday, January 30th, our much-anticipated Art of Resolution 32-hour online Federal EEO Investigator Certification Course is available.  This self-paced course meets all EEOC certification requirements.  The course has a number of best-in-class features that enhance the learning experience and differentiate it from other online offerings.  Chief among these features are real-time access to instructors, a comprehensive investigator’s manual, and a variety of learning methods such as audio-enhanced PowerPoint presentatio

EEO, HR, Investigations

Investigating Non-Selection Complaints

In our last post, we discussed how to defend non-selections from a selecting official’s perspective. In this post, we’ll discuss this issue from an investigator’s perspective. Those of us trained as EEO investigators, are familiar with the shifting burdens of proof outlined in McDonnell Douglas v. Green. Of specific note is management’s burden to articulate a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for its actions. In this case, we are looking for management’s reasons for not selecting the complainant. Countless times, we see (as investigators and reviewers of investigatio


Making a Bullet Proof Selection – Part 3

In part 1 we talked about recruiting for the best applicants; in part 2 we talked about making the right selections and now, in this 3rd and final part, let’s talk about defending the selection. By doing the work upfront that defines how the selection process will be handled, you have already laid the foundation to defend it. The first component is to ensure the process is followed consistently. As soon as a manager doesn’t do what the plan says they are going to do, they are placing the organization at risk. As soon as a manager doesn’t follow the same process as the re


Making a Bullet-Proof Selection, Part 2

Last week in part 1, we discussed the importance of having an accurate position description and the need for it to describe the skills needed to be successful in the position. The next thing I do is work with the manager to ensure a plan is in place that differentiates among applicants and to gets the best applicants to the selecting official. Review at the merit promotion plan, crediting plan or whatever it is you use to outline the process and establish the guidelines for selection. It’s probably a combination of things. I can’t count how many times a manager has told me


Making a Bullet-Proof Selection, Part 1

Those of us who have been managers (especially in the Federal government) have all been there—you make a selection and you hold your breath while you wait to see if someone challenges the decision.  While there is no way to prevent complaints or grievances, there are ways to reduce your vulnerability if your decision is challenged. When people apply for a vacancy, they generally believe they are the best-qualified applicant for the position and expect to get the position.  For example, say fifteen people apply for a vacancy, the selectee is excited for the new opportunit

EEO, Investigations

Investigator Tricks of the Trade, Part 5: 5 Essential Qualities Shared by Exceptional Investigators

There are many companies and agencies actively recruiting competent investigators with the tools to perform efficiently and skillfully with minimal orientation. So we asked ourselves whether there were specific experiences, training or skills shared by exceptional investigators. What we found most interesting is that regardless of whether an investigator works for an agency or a private company; or whether they performing investigations as full-time employees or as contractors, investigators who performed consistently well share an exceptional command of investigative t

EEO, Investigations

Investigator Tricks of the Trade, Part 4: What Makes a Good EEO Investigative Summary?

EEOC’s MD-110 gives a basic description of an investigative summary. They say it is “a narrative document that succinctly states the issues and delineates the evidence addressing both sides of each issue in the case. The summary should state facts (supported in the complaint file) sufficient to sustain a conclusion(s). The summary should cite to evidence and the exhibits collected.” This description provides the basic information that should be included in the summary, and each agency will have its own requirement as to format and style, but there are qualities that are co

EEO, Investigations

Investigator Tricks of the Trade, Part 3: Dealing with Difficult Witnesses

Anyone who has done investigations has encountered a witness who is reluctant, difficult, argumentative, or fill in the blank… It’s never easy, but being able to deal with the witness in a professional way that moves your investigation forward must remain your goal.   Sometimes that is easier said than done. Here are some ideas for dealing with difficult witnesses.    Talk to the witness before the day of the interview. It’s best to know what kind of witness you have before the day of the interview. Sometimes you can get a sense through an email, but other times, it m


Investigator Tricks of the Trade, Part 2: Preparing to Investigate

“If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else.”  ― Yogi Berra   Imagine an experienced airline pilot not having a flight plan because she has flown the route countless times. Imagine beginning any home improvement project without even a basic project plan.  Imagine having an attorney represent you in court who shows up for the case without having mapped out a strategy.   Without a plan each of these scenarios can end in disaster. There is a lot of debate among experienced investigators whether or not an investigative plan

EEO, Investigations

Investigator Tricks of the Trade, Part 1: Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Investigation Technique

This is the first in a series called Tricks of the Investigator Trade.   The more we do something, the easier it gets. That is true of most professions, and especially true of EEO investigators. The more you conduct interviews, the easier it gets.   The problem is, you can become so good at preparing and asking questions that you go on autopilot and miss key opportunities to follow-up. In our experience, this failure to follow-up is the most common reason investigations are deficient. As you read this, you may think it doesn’t apply to you, but are you sure? This article m