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The Ethics of Workplace Investigations
Original Program Date :
Length: 1 Hour

Each participant in a workplace investigation has a different role to play and faces different ethical obligations and pitfalls along the way. This webinar will explore the ethical issues that in-house attorneys, external counsel, investigators and plaintiffs' or complainants' attorney face when conducting, supervising and representing parties in workplace investigations. In addition to ethical obligations around zealous advocacy and maintaining privilege, the presentation will consider the following ethical rules:

California Rules of Professional Conduct

  • Rule 2-100 Communication with a Represented Party
  • Rule 3-100 Confidential Information of a Client
  • Rule 3-110 Failing to Act Competently
  • Rule 3-500 Communication [with Client]
  • Rule 5-210 Member as Witness

ABA Model Rules

  • Rule 1.1 Competence
  • Rule 1.3 Diligence
  • Rule 1.4 Communications
  • Rule 1.13 Organization as Client
  • Rule 3.7 Lawyer as Witness
  • Rule 7.1 Communication Concerning a Lawyer's Services


Disclaimer: The contents of this webinar and the positions taken are those of the presenter only, may be time sensitive, and are not warranted, endorsed or otherwise recommended by AWI and are not intended to provide legal advice. 

Eli Makus, Senior Partner, Van Dermyden Makus Law Corporation

Eli Makus is a Senior Partner of Van Dermyden Makus Law Corporation and Firm Managing Partner. Eli has focused on helping resolve employment disputes throughout his legal career. After litigating disputes for many years and working as in-house employment counsel, his practice now focuses on conducting impartial investigations.

Eli conducts and manages neutral, unbiased investigations on complex and sensitive matters. He is experienced in all areas of employment law, including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, disability accommodations, protected leaves of absence, whistleblower claims, privacy, wage-hour compliance, and reorganizations.

Eli has been retained by both public and private employers to investigate a variety of issues, from complaints of workplace misconduct, to allegations focused on fraud, corporate abuse, and regulatory compliance. For example, he has investigated issues specific to hospital operations and compliance, partnered with physician leaders on medical staff peer review investigations, and audited safety and compliance programs. Eli has conducted investigations involving employees at all levels of the organization, including executives, managers, and front-line staff in union and non-union environments.

Eli is experienced at conducting investigations in the public sector. He has conducted high profile investigations involving elected officials, citizen complaints, and public safety professionals. He regularly conducts Internal Affairs investigations, including those involving the Public Safety Procedural Bill of Rights Act and the Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights. 

Eli’s commitment to promoting and enhancing the quality of workplace investigations is manifested through his work with the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI). Eli is the current President of the AWI Board of Directors. He also co-chairs AWI’s Training Institute Committee and regularly serves as Senior Faculty for AWI’s multi-day Training Institutes.

Eli trains and speaks extensively on conducting workplace investigations. Eli has helped employers implement successful internal investigation programs and trained lawyer and non-lawyer investigators how to conduct thorough, prompt, and impartial workplace investigations. Much of Eli’s training is delivered through the Association of Workplace Investigators. Eli also presents regularly on current and emerging topics involving workplace investigations.

Prior to joining Van Dermyden Makus, Eli was the co-founder and partner of an employment law firm specializing in conducting workplace investigations. Eli also worked as in-house counsel at a major California healthcare system. In addition to providing employment law support, Eli also supported the medical staffs of several hospitals. Eli conducted investigations, trained managers on employment law compliance, and managed litigation.

Eli’s legal career began at Hanson Bridgett LLP where he provided advice to public and private employers and defended clients in state and federal court actions and administrative proceedings. Eli litigated employment disputes in a variety of areas of employment law, including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wage and hour claims, and more.

Eli received his law degree from the University of California, Davis. 

Sue Ann Van Dermyden, Van Dermyden Makus Law Corporation

Sue Ann Van Dermyden, AWI-CH, is a founding and senior partner of Van Dermyden Makus Law Orporation (formerly Van Dermyden Maddux) She has been an employment attorney since 1993, with her practice now focusing on workplace and Title IX investigations. She leads an experienced team of attorneys and provides expert witness testimony on employment matters. Sue Ann is known as a national speaker, having regularly presented training seminars on investigations to thousands. She has also written extensively on employment matters. Sue Ann is a founding member and former Past President of the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI) and the co-chair of the Workplace Investigations Subcommittee with the American Bar Association, Employee Rights & Responsibilities section. Through her experience as an investigator, author, lecturer, lawyer, and student of investigative technique, Sue Ann is familiar with the California standards for conducting independent workplace and Title IX campus investigations.


Office Phone: (916) 779-2402


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