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On Demand

Crossing Borders: Unique Aspects of Investigations Involving Immigrants

Credit Available - See Credits tab below.

Internal Investigators |  External Investigators |  Advanced |  Bias |  Interviewing |  Report Writing
Shivani Sutaria |  Caroline M Schuyler |  Ms. Karen Carrera |  Carson Sprott |  Meagan D Bainbridge
60 minutes
Audio and Video
Original Program Date:
Sep 13, 2023
Never expires.


Session Description:

While the U.S. immigrant population is not a monolith and includes those from numerous countries and cultures, different generations, and varying economic, educational and professional backgrounds, there are some unique considerations to workplace investigations involving immigrants. The speakers will discuss a few of these unique considerations including (1) investigating a workplace conflict based on circumstances arising in the country of origin (i.e. caste-based discrimination, language dialect discrimination), (2) examining investigators’ conscious or unconscious biases and/or lack of familiarity with immigrant communities’ cultures or customs, (3) effectively communicating with witnesses who only speak and read or prefer to speak and read in their native language (i.e. conducting bilingual interviews, acknowledging that witnesses from certain countries and cultures may convey information in varying modes), (4) facing and overcoming resistance or distrust of the investigator and/or the investigation process due to experiences in the country of origin or in the U.S., and (5) understanding the potential immigration consequences, including deportation risks, that could arise from the investigation (i.e. investigations involving the undocumented, when U.S. residency is tied to a job). 

Learning Objectives: 

Through attending this session, participants will understand the following topics and be able to apply this knowledge to their investigative practice: 

  • The current landscape of immigrants in the US labor force.
  • Ways investigators can conduct culturally competent investigations.
  • Tools for managing conscious and unconscious biases regarding immigrant cultures or customs.
  • Verbal and written communication considerations and challenges that arise in investigations involving immigrant populations.
  • Tools for dealing with witnesses who resist and distrust the process.
  • Immigration law consequences from the witness’ perspective.


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. 



SHRM PDCs: 1.0


California MCLEs: 1.0



Shivani Sutaria's Profile

Shivani Sutaria

Shivani Sutaria Law Offices

Shivani Sutaria, AWI-CH is an experienced employment law attorney and workplace investigator in the San Francisco Bay Area.  She is the founder of Shivani Sutaria Law Office; she focuses on conducting workplace investigations, providing advice and counsel to employers and employees, and training employees on employment law issues.  Prior to starting her own firm, Shivani worked at a San Francisco law firm litigating employment disputes in state and federal court as well as before administrative agencies such as the EEOC, DFEH, WCAB and DLSE.  Shivani received her Juris Doctor from University of San Francisco School of Law, her Master of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Southern California, and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from University of California, San Diego.  Shivani is a graduate of AWI's Training Institute for Workplace Investigators, an AWI Certificate Holder (AWI-CH), and the co-convener of the AWI Silicon Valley Local Circle.

Caroline M Schuyler's Profile

Caroline M Schuyler

Law Office of Caroline Schuyler

Caroline Schuyler, AWI-CH is an experienced employment law attorney, mediator and workplace investigator, maintaining her firm in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2003. Caroline is a skilled workplace investigator, conducting investigations for both private and public employers concerning discrimination, harassment, retaliation, bullying, wrongful termination, bullying and other employment related issues. Caroline has conducted investigations into alleged misconduct by all types of employees, from publicly elected officials, C-suite executives, warehouse workers, teachers and peace officers. Caroline’s investigations span a variety of employers from large and local public agencies, public and private schools, tech companies, start-ups, law firms and non-profits. Caroline is also a trained Title IX investigator. Caroline is also an experienced mediator, having mediated a variety of cases from workplace conflicts, employment and contract disputes as well as business disputes and partnership dissolutions. Caroline is also regularly retained for speaking engagements on employment topics and has conducted hundreds of trainings concerning harassment prevention and how to conduct investigations, including AWI’s Investigation Basics training. Caroline was part-time faculty at AWI’s Institute in September 2021. Prior to establishing her firm, Caroline was an associate at Hanson, Bridgett in San Francisco, and received her law degree from Golden Gate University. She was also a judicial extern for the Honorable Stuart Pollak of the San Francisco Superior Court and a law clerk for California’s Fair Employment & Housing Commission. Prior to law school, Caroline attended U.C. Berkeley, received a bachelor’s degree in psychology, was on the varsity crew team and competed post-collegiately on the national level, training for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.


Office Phone: 6509962075

Ms. Karen Carrera's Profile

Ms. Karen Carrera


Carrera Workplace Solutions

Bilingual Attorney, Investigator, Trainer, and DEI Consultant. Ms. Carrera conducts
workplace investigations for both public and private employers in response to employee 
complaints of harassment, discrimination, retaliation, bullying, and other alleged employee 
misconduct. Ms. Carrera also provides diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and 
harassment prevention trainings and consultations for corporations, government agencies 
and individuals, in both English and Spanish. She holds a certificate from the Association of 
Workplace Investigators (AWI), and is an active member. She also holds a Diversity, 
Equity, and Inclusion Certificate from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell 

Prior to becoming an investigator and trainer, Ms. Carrera was a Plaintiffs’ side employment 
law litigator at Villegas Carrera, Inc. This uniquely qualifies her to determine risk and see 
where employers are vulnerable to being sued by employees. Before Villegas Carrera, Ms. 
Carrera was a Deputy City Attorney and litigator with the San Francisco City Attorney’s 
Office, where she filed lawsuits against property owners who violated San Francisco’s 
housing, health, fire, and police codes. Ms. Carrera also formerly worked as the supervising 
attorney at Legal Aid of Marin and La Raza Centro Legal where she litigated employment 
and housing cases, and managed a diverse staff, including volunteers. She facilitated 
community outreach meetings with the Latino community and services agencies and 
conducted bilingual trainings and drafted Spanish and English self-help manuals.

Ms. Carrera is a 1992 graduate of the University of California College of the Law San 
Francisco (formerly U.C. Hastings), and has practiced law for 28 years. When not working, 
Ms. Carrera enjoys hiking the hills of Marin County with her husband and Maltipoo, Lilly.

Carson Sprott's Profile

Carson Sprott

Principal Investigator


Carson Sprott is the Principal Investigator in the Office of the President, University of California.  He supports a university system of 10 campuses, five medical centers, three affiliated national laboratories, and a statewide agriculture and natural resources program. The UC system has more than 285,000 students, 227,000 faculty and staff, an operating budget of $39.8 billion, and two million living alumni.  Sprott also serves on the UC Non-Discrimination Committee. 

Sprott has been on the proverbial “front lines” of workplace investigation over two decades.  Since 1998, Sprott has worked in the private sector as well as the state and federal government, serving as both an internal and external investigator.  Sprott is the author of “Competitive and Fair: The Case for Exporting Stronger Extraterritorial Labor and Employment Protection,” published in 2010.  Sprott has been with AWI since 2020 and has been an AWI-CH since 2022.   

As an active-duty Air Force JAG officer, in addition to investigations, Sprott took over 70 courts-martial to verdict, both as a federal prosecutor and public defender.  For his efforts, Sprott was awarded an Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, an Air Force Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters, and an Air Force Achievement Medal. 

From 2016 to 2017, Sprott deployed to just outside Mosul, Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.  There, in addition to supporting 2300 missions and six combat units, Sprott rapidly identified, investigated, and coordinated the legal response to potential Geneva Convention violations.  For this, he received the personal gratitude of the United States Ambassador to Iraq and Acting Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.  In addition, he received an Air Force Commendation Medal for humanitarian support and expediting the liberation of 1.2M citizens of Iraq.  In 2017, he was selected both as the Expeditionary Center’s and the Air Mobility Command’s Kuhfeld Award winner as the Outstanding Judge Advocate.  In the reserves since 2020, Sprott was recalled to active duty in the summer of 2022 to support the uptick in operations related to the conflict in Europe. 

In his spare time, Sprott currently serves in the Air National Guard where he manages all public defender offices in the Ninth Circuit and is also a member of the congressionally mandated Defense Counsel Assistance Program.  Sprott also coaches youth rugby and flag football in the small east Bay Area town in which he resides.  Sprott is the vice chair of his city’s Diversity Commission and serves as the Diversity Liaison to the Education Commission.    

Meagan D Bainbridge's Profile

Meagan D Bainbridge

Weintraub Tobin

Meagan Bainbridge is a Weintraub shareholder and member of the Labor & Employment and Litigation groups.

She exclusively practices employment law and related litigation in state and federal courts and before various administrative agencies. Additionally, she provides advice and counsel to employers concerning their workplace policies, practices, and personnel decisions. Meagan regularly assists employers in all aspects of their employment relationship with their employees, including on such matters as recruiting and hiring; employment agreements and compensation plans; protection of trade secrets; wage and hour laws; independent contractor status; performance standards and disciplinary actions; privacy; leaves of absence and reasonable accommodations; preventing discrimination, harassment, and retaliation; preventing and responding to theft and embezzlement; reductions in force, terminations, and layoffs; and compliance with other state and federal employment laws.  Meagan is a member of the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI) provides impartial workplace investigations.

Meagan also regularly defends employers against employment claims for breach of contract, discrimination, retaliation, harassment, wrongful termination, unfair business practices, violation of wage and hour laws, as well as numerous other tort and statutory employment law causes of action. She has extensive experience litigating class actions. Substantive areas of expertise include California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the California Labor Code.