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Guiding Principles for Conducting Workplace Investigations
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Guiding Principles

AWI has published the third revision of its popular Guiding Principles for Conducting Workplace Investigations. Hard copies of this pamphlet are available without charge by emailing Specify your name and mailing address and the number of copies requested, up to 25.

The Guiding Principles were developed under the leadership of AWI's Guiding Principles Committee, which was established at the founding meeting of AWI's Board of Directors. The Guiding Principles were originally published on September 25, 2012, the third anniversary of that founding meeting.


The Guiding Principles remain focused on impartial workplace investigations.

An impartial investigation is generally conducted so that an employer can determine what occurred when there are contested allegations affecting the workplace that involve a potential violation of the employer’s policies, standards, ethics, or the law. The point of an impartial investigation is to provide a fair and impartial process for the complainant and respondent and to reach reasoned findings based on the information gathered.

These Guiding Principles were developed to assist investigators and enhance the quality of workplace investigations:

  1. Decision to Conduct an Investigation
  2. Choice of Investigator
  3. Scope of Investigation
  4. Investigation Planning
  5. Communicating with Employer Representatives and Witnesses
  6. Confidentiality and Privacy
  7. Evidence Gathering and Retention
  8. Witness Interviews
  9. Documenting the Investigation
  10. Investigation Findings
  11. Reports

Read the original version of the pamphlet. the first revision of the pamphlet, and a summary of the changes in the first revision.