Thursday, April 18, 2013

Human Resources Investigations

I have had the pleasure of working with Human Resources employees who are charged with settling various work place accusations ranging from abuse of clients to sexual harassment suits, to everything in between.  Those who interview job applicants as well as settle disputes often develop excellent interviewing skills.

Analytical Interviewing is interviewing based upon the principles of Statement Analysis.

In Analytical Interviewing, we ask legally sound, open ended questions, in order to cause the subject to use his own internal, personal, subjective dictionary.

We avoid introducing words whenever possible, and we certainly avoid leading questions which can teach the subject to lie.

We do not want to give away answers, so sticking to principle is a good way to avoid this.

In an assault investigation, just prior to the assault, the subject "ordered" other workers out of the building.  As I was seeking to learn if the subject was making certain that there were no eyewitnesses to what was about to happen, another investigator asked,

"Did you do this because you were concerned about the safety of the other workers?"

The subject could barely contain his smirk, "yes", he said, looking right at me.  This is an example of a leading question that taught the subject to lie.  (the assault was premeditated).

When Human Resources must investigate (this happens more times than most people realize) they sometimes learn of a claim of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a client where the subject who is accused, does not know an accusation has been levied against him.  This is the same for hospitals, nursing home facilities, or anywhere people are being cared for.

It is important to not tell the subject what it is that the human resources investigator is actually investigating.  (Human Resources often has to investigate sexual harassment, hostile work environment claims, bullying, and so on, and the "he said; she said" cases are perfect for Statement Analysis, as when each person writes out a statement separate from one another, the truth is often not difficult to discern.)

In the following, a nursing home received an accusation of abuse of a patient who has many caretakers over different shifts.  The subject was not told that he had been accused of anything.

Embedded confessions.

Recall actress Lindsey Lohan seated before a judge, being caught in lie after lie only to say "I don't want you to think I disrespect you" to the judge.

Painted on her fingernails were the letters "F U C * Y O U" flashing them towards the judge.  When media caught up with her outside, she called the female judge a "bitch."

When the human resources supervisor went to interview him she asked him, "Do you know why I am here?

This is always a great question to start off with for Human Resources.  An innocent staff should not know why. It could be a discussion about benefits, sick time, a dispute over work, or anything.

The staff said, "I have no idea how I abused that guy."

Please note that "I have no idea how I abused that guy" may have the embedded confession of "I abused that guy."

Embedded confessions are a point of "leakage" where the brain chooses words that "leak" out information that the subject did not likely want to come out.

A common mistake of embedded confessions is when the subject enters the language of another. This is not an embedded confession.  "You think I killed the guy" or "You say I hit the man" may not be embedded confessions, but that the subject is either using the language of another, or the thought of another.

Be cautious.

With embedded confessions, we seek confirmation from the rest of the statement to help us in our conclusion.  Confession by pronoun, however, is something much more reliable, which we will look at in another article.

Human Resources positions can often become expert interviewers and there is no sharper tool than to take Statement Analysis into an interview.

1.  Open Ended Questions
2.  Questions based upon the wording in answers
3.  Questions based upon evidence

More about the interesting position of HR in future articles.

21 comments:

Shelley said...

I am in HR and recruiting is a main function. I pick up on deption now pretty quickly since I started learing about SA.

Thats why I find it so interesting. I am really into justice (once wanted to go into criminal forensics) but I am so emotional that I ended up going in another direction. HR.

But now I find it helpful in interivewing with investigations, counseling employees, and interviewing for potential new employees. And even in meetings when people are asked to provide project updates etc... I always note deception.

One interesting thing I had with an employee I came to talk to that was arguing with another employee... The argument was about her attendance (being late all the time) and I had already pulled her log in report so had plans after the group resolution, to then talk to her one on one. Well during the group talk, he addressed her being late to which she blatenly denied something to the effect of "I am never late". The other employee reminded her that I can pull that report. This did not phase her (much like Casey) and she replied "Ill pull the report right now". I am not sure what she would have said had I said pull it. But that was a discussion that was private.

But found it so very interesting how she offered that. Knowing.

You can imagine the look on her face when I then called her into a private meeting and pulled out the report.

Randie said...

BD was quoted as saying: "Haily went and disappeared."

Went is first disppeared second.

Working off of your article Peter...are these embedded words?

Where did Haily "went" before she disappeared?

Didn't dogs pick up on her at a motel? Or is that wrong?

(and yes she is "blaming" Haily...)

Anonymous said...

OT

http://washingtonexaminer.com/article/2527529


During a House hearing this morning, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano criticized the Drudge Report for highlighting stories about the department’s purchases of ammunition and MRAP (mine-resistant, ambush protected) vehicles.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., questioned Napolitano about the reports from Forbes magazine and other stories linked on the Drudge Report.

“You know, when Forbes magazine or Drudge or some reputable news sources start to repeat the numbers … the numbers cease to become Internet rumors, and they start having some credibility,” Duncan said questioning the “long delay” from the DHS to clarify the numbers.

“I will tell you we found it so inherently unbelievable that statements would be made, it was hard to ascribe credibility to them,” Napolitano said, suppressing a bemused smile. “I don’t know if I’d put Forbes and Drudge in the same sentence.”


Napolitano insisted that reports of the ammo purchases were not credible but admitted that the DHS started responding to them after receiving congressional inquiries about the ammo purchases.

“If I might say in my own defense, we just couldn’t believe that anyone would believe those allegations, and so, let me be clear – absolutely not true,” Napolitano concluded.

Hobnob said...

off topic and about bloody time

A man accused of forcing a handyman to strangle his wife was charged with first-degree murder Wednesday, 15 months after the discovery of her body in a Detroit alley stirred fear that she was a victim of a random abduction from a comfortable suburb.

The charges against Robert Bashara were not unexpected. Nonetheless, it was another extraordinary turn in the death of Jane Bashara, a 56-year-old marketing executive from Grosse Pointe Park.

'I don't know if I'd use the word strange,' Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said when asked to sum up the investigation. 'I would use the word different, and certainly a case that has a lot of tentacles.'

The handyman, Joseph Gentz, is serving a 17-year prison sentence after admitting he killed Jane Bashara. But he insists he acted on the threats and orders of her husband.

Bashara, 55, was charged with murder, conspiracy, solicitation to commit murder and other crimes. He faces life in prison without parole if convicted.

Worthy declined to discuss a motive or many other details but said Gentz would be a 'strong and credible witness.'

'He's not the only witness. We have many, many others. I would never call one person a star witness. I never do that,' she said.
The prosecutor said Bashara encouraged witnesses to lie or call in false tips during the investigation and tried to get a witness to leave Michigan and avoid police.

Bashara won't be hard to find: He's already in custody, 260 miles away, serving a minimum prison sentence of 6 1/2 years for trying to have Gentz killed in the county jail last year. He'll likely appear in court next week on the new charges.
'Mr. Bashara has steadfastly maintained he had no role in his wife's death and he continues to maintain he had no role in his wife's death,' defense attorney Mark Kriger said.

Despite those denials, Bashara quickly was identified by police as a person of interest in January 2012. He attended a candlelight vigil in honor of Jane Bashara and told reporters the killing was an 'unconceivable tragedy.'

The body was found in her Mercedes-Benz in a Detroit neighborhood, miles from their home. The Basharas lived in a suburb on the city's eastern edge, and the death immediately caused speculation that she was plucked by violent strangers.

'This case is one we do not often experience in Grosse Pointe Park,' Public Safety Director David Hiller said Wednesday.

In December, Gentz pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and agreed to cooperate with authorities.

'Bob Bashara offered me money to kill his wife,' he told a judge. 'He threatened he would kill me if I didn't kill his wife.'

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2310864/Robert-Bashara-Michigan-man-charged-degree-murder-forcing-handyman-strangle-kill-wife.html

jerri said...

hi peter...i love reading from your blog and enjoy the informative comments...i, too, am awaiting the news regarding the scurry county remains....this is off topic but i am curious..did you ever do any SA regarding the missing student Lauren Spierer? from the articles i have read, something is fishy about two of her friends.

thank you for the work you do!

Dee said...

OT...This was interesting. Thank you for sharing anon.

“I will tell you we found it so inherently unbelievable that statements would be made, it was hard to ascribe credibility to them,” Napolitano said, suppressing a bemused smile. “I don’t know if I’d put Forbes and Drudge in the same sentence.”

***She begins the statement strongly with "I" but quickly changes to "we". She says she's going to tell us but since she uses we, it's not she(Napolitano)that finds it unbelievable that statements would be made. It's not she that has a hard time ascribing credibility to them.

"I don’t know if I’d put Forbes and Drudge in the same sentence."
***It's a sentence in the negative. She's not telling us what she would do, rather what she wouldn't do. She doesn't say Forbes and Drudge are not of the same caliber. She doesn't deny the report, she only says she wouldn't put them in the same sentence.

Napolitano insisted that reports of the ammo purchases were not credible but admitted that the DHS started responding to them after receiving congressional inquiries about the ammo purchases.

“If I might say in my own defense, we just couldn’t believe that anyone would believe those allegations, and so, let me be clear – absolutely not true,” Napolitano concluded.

***Here she again goes from " I" to "we". She also weakens her assertion by inserting just. If she's saying something in "her own defense" I expect to hear "I" couldn't believe anyone would believe the allegations, not "we" (weak) just (weakens further) couldn't believe....those (distancing).

and so, let me be clear – absolutely not true,” Napolitano concluded.
***"let me be clear" is a persuading term a lot of politicians use when they want us to believe them (Clinton used it a lot).
absolutely not true is an unreliable denial. It does not contain the components of a reliable denial and is further weakened by "absolutely"

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Dee. I thought the same. She did not issue a reliable denial. She dropped the subject "-absolutely not true."

Dee said...

Thanks anon. Although not easy, I find these statements easier for me than the "crime" ones. I think I get too emotional with those. I have to try hard to distance myself from the story.

Dee said...
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Dee said...
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Peter Hyatt said...

Dee,

Let me comment on what you have said:

1. Your acknowledgement of difficulty is actually a strength of yours; it means you'll learn as you continue.

2. As to being too emotionally involved; this is another strength.

It is difficult for me to analyze, for example, Billie Dunn's statements without thinking of what I know about the case.

This actually proves "the 40% factor" where LSI teaches that if an analyst goes back to his original work "cold" , that is, much later and no longer emotionally impacted, the statement can yield up to 40% more content for analysis.

You've touched upon two excellent points, both of which speak to your strength even though you may not see it that way.

Keep up the good work.

Peter

Peter Hyatt said...

Shelley,

I will be getting to more HR interviews to help HR ask questions that weed out thieves.

I will also cover sexual harassment cases.

Peter Hyatt said...

Randie said...
BD was quoted as saying: "Haily went and disappeared."

Went is first disppeared second.

Working off of your article Peter...are these embedded words?

Where did Haily "went" before she disappeared?

Didn't dogs pick up on her at a motel? Or is that wrong?

(and yes she is "blaming" Haily...)>>

Randie, interesting.

I wonder if they walked her around, intoxicated, under the influence, or something similar.

And yes, the perp is blaming the victim in order to alleviate guilt from the perp!

Paula said...

I have often wondered what goes through HRs minds when they review cases of hostile work environment, workplace bullying, or sexual harassment. Often times these cases are one side against the other and they end up being determined "unfounded" unless they are in the extreme and the HR department is forced to investigate and determine a resolution. I filed against two former co-workers and our supervisor for workplace bullying. I wrote a lengthy statement on what occurred, which included dates, times, and direct quotes, and my Civil Rights office (the individuals who investigate) sent me a letter saying my claim was unfounded (meaning they found nothing in my statement that was illegal or egregious enough to do further investigation). I was flabbergasted. I lived through horrendous bullying for over three years and I truly believe my department did not look at the facts - but was more interested in determining whether any of the information in my statement fell under EEO (protected classes). They look at the "nexus" to determine whether it is grievable and if there's no "nexus", the claim is deemed unfounded. I was branded a "liar" and a "problem" employee and dumped in a unit that has no mission or assignments. Good times....

Peter Hyatt said...

Paula,

Do you still have your statement?

I would wager that HR was not train ed S/A
otherwise, they would have , perhaps, told you more.

Peter

Dee said...

Thank you for your feedback Peter. I appreciate the input. I didn't consider it a strength but a weakness in analysis. Interesting and food for thought
By the way, sorry for the multiple postings.

Lemon said...

Dee -
You can remove your multiple posts by clicking the little "trashcan" symbol next to the timestamp.

Dee said...

Thanks Lemon.

Shelley said...

Paula... What you said, happens all to often. It amazes me even today, with so much in place to protect employees, some of these same departments do just the opposite.

I have seen it happen many times and have even left companies because that was acceptable.

One place had an executive in the HR dept actually had 2 seperate cases filed against him for sexual harassment. The first was dismissed.. The 2nd, same thing.

This exective was not fired and it was determined that both employees were at fault and was forced to resign or be fired.

This same man was later fired for performance yet received a very large severage packege worth a couple years pay.

To me it is just amazing that in all the headway we have made in this world, that some people still protect this behavior.

To me these people that do bad things should be outcasts. But anytime there is any level of power, its the opposite.

The victims always suffer and this person of power usually stays in power.

Yes, we see justice occasionaly (Drew Peterson) but even one time where the victim pays is too many.
But we all know it happens way to often.

One suggestion I have, try the news media. Especially if its a larger company. You may also find others come out of hiding and stand beside you. Just a suggestion. I have seen the media do wonders in these types of cases...

Good luck!

Paula said...

Peter,

I do have my statement. It's nearly 20 pages long.

I wonder if they even interviewed my main tormentor. I would love to know if they did, and if they did, did they ask her leading questions, or did she admit her involvement in certain things and they didn't catch it.

Paula said...

Shelley

Thank you for acknowledging that this goes on everywhere. I have wondered to what extent it goes on in other industries. I work for the state corrections department. In one point of my career with this department I was a workers' comp analyst. Unfortunately, when HR doesn't do their jobs, the complaints turn into "stress" claims through the comp system. I cannot begin to count the number of claims I would get for stress. I used to conduct the monthly safety meeting and I pulled one exec aside and told her that she had some obvious problems in a specific unit. Nearly every single employee had a stress claim, some even had multiple "body part" claims. I don't condone fraud of any kind, but I understand it in cases like these. When HR doesn't stand up for its employees and protect them from harassment and hostile work environments and do so hiding behind "it isn't illegal", employees find other ways. I'm waiting for the class action hostile work environment to happen. It's only a matter of time.