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Employee interviews in internal investigations

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Schmid David
Dr David Schmid

Senior Associate

Frankfurt am Main

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Fitzpatrick Brian
Brian Fitzpatrick

Associate

New York

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Edwards Amy
Amy Edwards

Senior PSL - Litigation

London

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14 November 2019

Recent developments in the U.S., UK and Germany have cast a spotlight on the interplay between corporate internal investigation interviews and investigations by, and cooperation with, the authorities. Interviewing company employees is often a key part of an internal investigation.

Despite most employees having little choice but to agree to give internal interviews, they are not always granted the procedural safeguards associated with interviews conducted by authorities, such as a right to silence or a right to legal representation. Authorities in some jurisdictions have shown an increasing tendency towards seeking access  to evidence from internal interviews (required as a mark of cooperation or by seizure) for use in a criminal investigation of the company and/or individuals.

So how can an organisation carry out internal interviews in a way which is effective in terms of getting information, but at the same time does not unduly prejudice the individual’s and the company’s position in later proceedings?