Human Resource professionals deal with many aspects of an investigation, including knowing that allegations could produce criminal and civil consequences, as well as impact the bottom line and reputation of their company. They must get to the truth and they prosper in Statement Analysis Training.
It helps to take a step back and trust in the principles of analysis to guide us.
Allegation: Sexual Harassment
It has become increasingly difficult to discern what constitutes "sexual harassment" in the workplace today. One interesting trend has been predictable: projection and virtue signaling.
Those who "see" misogyny everywhere are being undraped and seen as actual sexual predators at worse, and sexual harassing perpetrators at best. This is the same theme as those who see "racism" in any and every one who disagrees with them. If you listen carefully, you will find the virtue signaling subject to be very likely a racist (or misogynist) himself or herself.
Misogyny in the criminal world is frightening. This deep hatred of women was recently seen in the language and action of a same-sex adoption man who killed the little girl entrusted to his care. His denigration of her was chilling and her death violent. As politicians continue to reduce the definition of misogyny via false accusations, its understanding is lost.
Workers routinely talk about sex, email about sex, text about sex, and so on, because they think about sex. Some studies indicate that men think about sex several times per hour, while women think about sex once per day. The brain chemistry is very different (physiological), beginning from near gestation and is very strong before cultural impact begins. If male-female brains were the same in this area, our world would look very different, if it had not overpopulated itself to death. In studies with different numbers ("males think of sex x times per minute" etc), but the consistency is found in the difference. The MRI of the amygdala shows a
deadening affect in female orgasm (where fear/anxiety is processed) which takes more time.
This (and the many other differences) is found in the language differences between men and women and critical to analysis, particularly in profiling and Anonymous Author Identification.
The complementary nature of the two sexes is necessary for the species to survive and prosper (procreate), though the differences have now become subject to politicians's exploitation.
Months ago, when Bill O'Reilly was accused of sexual harassment, his denial was deemed not only "unreliable" but in my conclusion: he went well beyond inappropriate or unwelcome sexual banter and was deceptive. He was not a victim, even if he was targeted by political enemies. If O'Reilly is a victim, it is of his own doing. We now learn that he paid out millions to keep victims silent. This is not the action of innocence, nor is it as a result of inappropriate jokes. His subsequent denials indicate deception and likely a history of inappropriate behavior that may have had further consequences. He did not lose his job because he said, "hot chocolate mama" to a co-worker. We seek to measure the intensity of the sensitivity but also the context of the sensitivity. This week he said in response to the revelation of millions of dollars in payment:
“It’s politically and financially motivated. I’m not going to sit here in a courtroom for a year and a half and let my kids get beaten up every single day of their lives by a tabloid press that would sit there, and you know it.”
These statements may be true, but when viewing his numerous denials, he goes beyond "not reliable" and his "unreliable", when measured in volume, led to my conclusion. Regardless of the motive of accusers, his language and behavior was his own. My conclusion includes viewing more specific allegations within more specific time frames by him. He has been consistently unreliable in each interview I've seen or heard. American Thinker did a thoughtful article on him with the hope that he was taking a strong personal introspection and inventory of his behavior. His statements do not reflect this.
Consider "sexual harassment" the clearly communicated unwanted continuance of sexual discussion and/or sexualized behavior. When it reaches the point of exploitation, the crime is evident: sex for promotion, sex as reward, sex as punishment, etc. For our purpose, sexual harassment is not two workers joking, texting, emailing, when suddenly one wishes to file a claim. Sexual harassment is the use of sex to harass, bully, intimidate, etc. This excludes banter, discussion or mutual use of humor or flirting.
Investigators, including HR professionals and Sex Crimes Units, must have very specific training to go well beyond "he said; she said" analysis. Here is an example of the training.
A woman accused her supervisor of pulling down his pants during a meeting where several other employees were present to mock her.
This is a very straight forward accusation. It is not open to interpretation. He either did it or he did not.
"Are you kidding me? Is this a joke?"
This is a point of great sensitivity: he heard, for the first time, the accusation, and he answered the question of the accusation (imperative) with not only a question, but two questions. It is, therefore, very sensitive to him.
Please note: absurdity can produce sensitivity, just as guilt can.
The answering a question with a question indicates that the subject has to pause to consider his answer.
This means it is sensitive.
"Are you kidding me? Is this a joke?"
He was then told that it was not a joke but an accusation that Human Resources was taking very seriously and may need to call in law enforcement.
The analyst must listen.
"This is ridiculous!"
HR Interviewer: Is it?
Subject: "Yes it is ridiculous. She's nuts."
He has now still avoided a denial and now denigrates his accuser. The level of sensitivity is even higher.
Subject: "You realize that there were others in the room, right?"
HR: "Hmm hmm."
Subject: "Well? Did you talk to them?"
HR: "I wanted to hear it from you first."
Subject: "What do you want me to say? This is absurd."
HR: "She made a formal complaint and stated that you pulled down your pants in the meeting, mocking her."
Subject: "I did not. Why don't you talk to the others?"
HR: "We will. I want to hear from you."
Subject: (silence) hands over head, hunched over.
HR: "You have the accusation. How do you speak to it?
Subject: "I did not pull my pants down. I didn't even talk to her. She's got a real wild temper so I avoid saying much to her and never meet alone with her. She's got issues, man, and I've always been afraid of her. You know, this is, hey, you realize, wait, where did she claim this happened?"
HR: In the conference room.
Subject: Yeah, it's video security camera there."
HR: "Okay, so you said you did not pull your pants down. Give me one reason why I should believe you."
Subject: "Go check the video. I'm telling you the truth, but talk to the others, go to the video. This is ridiculous."
He finally made a denial. The interviewer understood the nature of his avoidance, intuitively, and kept at it until the subject.
What do we do with all that he added to this denial?
The sensitivity indicators are one theme: he is shocked by the allegation. As it dawned on him, anger entered his statement.
The accusation was so bizarre that it produced a very sensitive but singular, reaction to him, initially: shock. Sensitivity does not make us rush to conclude deception. This then led to anger.
In the above, he was truthful. The other witnesses reacted in a similar way, and the video, though grainy, showed that at no time did he stand up or be outside the view of the camera. One expert said she was aware of her co worker's mental health but was afraid to speak out. She said, "I knew that something like this would happen but I did not think she would make such a bold crazy allegation."
The accuser had untreated mental health issues and her language showed childhood sexual abuse. In her statement, the analyst was able to show perseveration. This is part of advanced analysis where the analyst told HR that someone did, in fact, pull down his pants to insult her, but it was not her supervisor. It happened many years ago and this is likely to come out should the company enlist a skilled therapist.
The trained analyst must consider the sensitivity indicators within a statement and stay within his presupposition, and classify and categorize the indicators appropriately.
For Sex Crimes Units, the ability to discern perseveration (where one repeats an accusation from history as if it is happening now) is indispensable.
Learning the language of sex abuse victims, including disassociation within the language, is an investment in justice.
For Sex Crimes Units, we offer Statement Analysis training with specific emphasis on the language of sexual abuse, but we also hold Advanced Seminars for those who have already reached a level of expertise in sex crimes. The Advanced Seminar is for trained professionals and is two days of intensive work, with 12 months of follow up support. It is complicated but it provides justice for both victims and for those falsely accused. It is also for social workers, district attorneys and others interested in protecting a vulnerable population including adults with developmental disabilities. Legally sound interviewing based upon the principles of statement analysis enhances those with solid social worker institute training, Reid technique, and other schools where the discernment is necessary.