Pre-Employment Background Screening Specialists
Criminal / Civil Records, DMV Records, Degree / Employment Verification
Pre-Employment Background Screening - Background Checks, Records Research and Investigations  
 

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4 Phase Undercover Program ...

Phase One
Prior to launching any investigative effort it is important to establish the scope, objective and direction of the endeavor. To assist in establishing the parameters of each organization's regulations a thorough policy review is required. During the Phase One review, via our Human Resource/Industrial Relations consultant, we are able to identify areas of the policy, which may require updating, to ensure they meet with current labor law standards.

It is during the Phase One process that we recommend a safety meeting, during which your drug policy is accurately and concisely cited to employees. The purpose of the meeting is to memorialize the fact that your policy was clearly communicated to all employees. An accurate record of all attendees and topics discussed should be made.

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Additionally, a review of an existing fidelity bond should be conducted. Often times, employers unknowingly, are covered for losses attributable to identified theft and the cost of the investigation.

The preferred method for conducting any internal investigation is to include labor counsel. If in-house counsel is not available we strongly recommend the use of a reputable Labor Attorney. Not only does counsel provide a good safety net to ensure compliance with all current Labor Law, they provide the Attorney-Client privilege throughout every phase of the investigation.

Phase Two
Phase Two is the investigation.  The gathering of information germane to the scope set forth in Phase One.  Information can be gathered using a number of investigative techniques; surveillance both stationary and mobile, electronic surveillance, undercover operations and forensic studies. 

The undercover investigation can be a very powerful tool when used to ferret out theft, substance abuse, sexual harassment and potentially violent individuals.  Managers and supervisors are often plagued with suspicions of wrongdoing when exposed to inventory shrinkage, drug paraphernalia found in the workplace or a pattern of positive drug screens by tested employees.  With no specific information of wrongdoing an undercover operative can, via on-going interaction with employees, identify culpable individuals.  Unlike other investigative techniques, which are passive in nature, the undercover investigation provides "real time" interactive information.

The objective of any undercover investigation should be to gather truthful, accurate information.  Labor law standards and penal code restrictions must also be considered.  Our operatives are trained and closely guided in all phases of the investigation.  Special attention is paid to areas such as entrapment, unfair labor practices and invasion of privacy.  Information provided by our operatives is gathered in a way that minimizes the risk of litigation.  Operatives routinely enter the workforce, gather information and are removed from the workforce with their cover not having been compromised.

Although serious violations including drug use and sales, theft, sabotage and sexual harassment are reported; operatives report on a number of areas to include an assessment of employee attitudes towards management, supervisory effectiveness, safety and less serious policy violations.

All operatives are closely supervised with daily reporting and daily supervisory contact required.

When operatives provide information which identifies a specific violation that is going to be committed or a pattern of on-going malfeasance, a surveillance technique best suited to capture the act on film is utilized.  The video surveillance is a convincing tool when used in concomitance with our interview technique, described in Phase Three and also serves as valid evidence at any future hearing.

If our operatives uncover a "drug dealer" in your organization, every effort to collect the best evidence against him will be made.  The best evidence of a drug sale is a drug buy.  After substantiating the fact that an employee is involved in the sales of illegal drugs on company time or property, a meeting with the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction will be scheduled.  The purpose of the meeting is to comply with 11367 of the Health and Safety Code, which requires private citizens to become "agents" of the police prior to engaging in any purchase of illegal drugs.

During theft investigations our operatives often times develop the requisite relationship with thieves to enable a buy of stolen property.  This "sting operation" is video taped and the recovered property sequestered to provide evidence of the theft.  When company property is being stolen and sold for profit to a "fence" or legitimate customer the identity of those involved and evidence of the involvement is pursued.  Identifying the receivers of stolen property provide the company another vehicle by which they may pursue the recovery of losses via criminal and/or civil proceedings.

Phase Three
The Phase Three or Interview Phase of the investigation is unquestionably the most dynamic.  While the undercover portion of the investigation typically only scratches the surface of the existing malfeasant activity, the interview phase develops as much as 80% of the information ultimately delivered to our clients.  Although this phase is clearly the area that generates the bulk of usable information, it is also the most precarious. 

With litigation for wrongful discharge and a number of ancillary causes of action ever present and on the rise, only the most experienced and well-trained investigators are members of the interview team.  Our interview team members have enjoyed lengthy careers with local, state, or federal law enforcement agencies prior to their transition into the private sector.  The interview team has collectively conducted thousands of interviews using our specific interview format.  All interview team members are keenly aware of issues such as false imprisonment, coercion, intentional infliction of emotional distress and Weingarten rights in collective bargaining environments.  During the carefully structured interview process due caution is used in the aforementioned areas and evidence that improper conduct did not take place, is painstakingly documented.

Based on the information gathered in Phase Two, a list of first wave interview candidates is compiled.  Interview assignments and a team briefing is conducted one day prior to the scheduled interview date.  On the first day of interviews a surreptitious entry to your facility is made by the interview team.  Once the team is in place, the designated interview candidates are summoned and introduced to the assigned interviewer.  The interviewee is then escorted to a private office where the interview process begins.

The interview is structured into three distinct segments: information gathering, documentation and the oral declaration.  Each segment is designed to obtain truthful information while treating all interviewees with dignity and respect.

During the information gathering segment the interviewer reveals to the interviewee the investigative process and employee rights.  The employee is provided an opportunity to tell the truth about his involvement, if any, in malfeasant activity.  If the employee elects to participate in the process information gathering begins.  It should be noted that over 90% of employees interviewed thus far have decided voluntarily to participate and provide information germane to the investigation.

When an overview of the employee's involvement is complete the information provided is then put into written form via a handwritten declaration and the completion of drug and theft worksheets (see addendum).  The written documentation of information provided typically requires the greatest portion of time. 

Clearly defined involvement in written form provides a solid foundation for the disbursement of discipline, when and if that course of action is taken.    

The tape recorded Oral Declaration is what sets this process apart from conventional interview techniques.  The tape recorded statement provides a very effective tool which substantiates the information was given freely and voluntarily with no threat or promise.  When arbitrating bodies review cases, during which confessions are given, they often times scrutinize the manner in which information was obtained and place the admitted misconduct secondary.  The tape recorded Oral Declaration memorializes the fair and impartial tone of the meeting, during which a myriad of tortuous allegations are addressed and set aside.  

All information gathered during the interview process is quickly entered into our database and cross referenced by our on-site reports administrator.  The real time compilation of information provides the opportunity to review information at the end of each day.  The information review, with our clients, affords them the ability to make decisions regarding the scope and extent of the interview process as it unfolds.

Once an employee is interviewed, he is then placed on "controlled standby".  Controlled Standby is a term used to describe, not a discipline, but instead an assignment change.  The employee's new assignment will be to remain home during his normal working hours.  In return for being available by phone the employee continues to receive his normal salary.  The benefit of the controlled standby is to avoid engaging the collective bargaining agreement via a disciplinary act and to provide our interviewers the ability to truthfully advise subsequent interviewees that no one has been disciplined subsequent to their interview.

Phase Four
Within twenty-four hours of the final interview a Phase Four report is presented to our clients.  The Phase Four report contains all information gleaned from the investigative process.  A Phase Four meeting is held to review and chart the information collected.  Participants in the meeting should include the company labor attorney, all managers   involved in disciplinary decision making and representatives from Employment Check, Inc.  The purpose of the meeting is to review the information gathered to clearly define lines of discipline.  The charting of information provides a tool to equitably dispense discipline avoiding disparate treatment issues.

The company attorney's presence whether in-house or outside counsel will insure sound legal decisions and the ability to provide the attorney-client privilege.

As soon as practical, after disciplinary decisions have been made, employees can be summoned from their controlled standby status to advise them of the company's final decision.

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