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Workplace Investigations: Dos and Don’ts from the Church of Reformed Litigators

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Bias |  Internal Investigators |  External Investigators |  Credibility |  Interviewing |  Report Writing |  Advanced |  Beginner
Daphne Pierre Bishop, AWI-CH |  Mrs. Kelly D Gemelli, AWI-CH |  Mr. Leonard J Akselrod, AWI-CH, AWI-CH |  Christine A. Slattery J.D. AWI-CH
90 minutes
Audio and Video
Original Program Date:
May 09, 2023
Never expires.


Session Description:

From opening to closing an investigation, every step throughout the process has important dos and don’ts that can make or break a successful investigation. With decades of law firm and in-house counsel experience, two panelists will give an investigator's perspective. This presentation will touch upon the following Dos and Don’ts of Investigations According to the Church of Reformed Litigators:

  • Considerations prior to Investigation Engagement:
    • Determining the lead investigator (whether or not the client has the option to pick an investigator based on race, gender, sex, religion)
    • Drafting Indemnity agreements
    • Time constraints (determining whether it matters to start an investigation a year later, any statutes of limitation, etc.)
  • Investigation Plan
    • Determining the investigation scope
    • Creating admonitions for client to approve
    • Determining whether the interviews will be recorded
    • What deliverable does the client want
    • Strategically planning witness interviews
    • Obtaining company policies and other relevant evidence
  • During Investigation
    • What happens when the client’s point of contact becomes the subject of the investigation
    • Email policy
    • Steps to take if client produces documentation by mistake
    • Training on how to do time entries
  • After Investigation
    • How to produce your findings
    • Document retention policy
    • Invoice process
    • Closing the file

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Understand the basic principles prior to and after an investigation
  2. Develop an investigation plan and identify watchouts
  3. Learn techniques to use during investigations


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



Daphne Pierre Bishop, AWI-CH's Profile

Daphne Pierre Bishop, AWI-CH

Partner & Chair of Workplace Investigations Group

Van Dermyden Makus Law Corporation

Daphne Pierre Bishop, JD, AWI-CH, has been practicing employment law since 2001. During that time, Daphne advised small to Fortune 500 companies in various industries on how to comply with the law, and defended employers against the gamut of employment-related claims ranging from single plaintiff discrimination cases to wage and hour class actions.

Combining her litigation and counseling experience, Daphne’s practice now focuses on conducting and supervising workplace investigations as a neutral third party. Daphne’s clients trust her to investigate high-profi le and complex workplace matters, including “me too” complaints, race discrimination allegations, and toxic workplace claims. When conducting investigations, Daphne is discreet and diplomatic in her evaluation and assessment of both employer and employee conduct, and her extensive experience working with employers and employees provides her with a unique advantage in assisting companies to prevent, uncover, investigate and resolve employee and institutional misconduct. Daphne received a certifi cate from the Association of Workplace Investigators after successfully completing the 2019 Training Institute for Workplace Investigators.

Daphne frequently writes articles, speaks, and conducts trainings on employment issues, including harassment and discrimination. Daphne regularly serves as faculty for AWI’s Training Institutes for Workplace Investigators. Daphne has been dedicated to pro bono work throughout her career, including performing criminal advocacy work on behalf of abused women, representing clients in guardianship proceedings, serving on a non-profi t board of directors, and helping indigent clients become legal US residents.

Daphne is from Chicago, where she was raised by her parents, who are immigrants from Haiti. From there, Daphne attended Yale College, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and sang in the a cappella group Shades of Yale. Next, Daphne attended UCLA School of Law, where she led the Black Law Students Association and served as an editor on the UCLA Women’s Law Journal. Daphne earned her Juris Doctor in 2001.

Mrs. Kelly D Gemelli, AWI-CH's Profile

Mrs. Kelly D Gemelli, AWI-CH


Gemelli Employment Law

Kelly D. Gemelli is a trusted legal adviser and seasoned employment law practitioner with significant experience in advising and representing clients in the public and private sector. Kelly provides advice on a wide variety of employment concerns including disability leave and accommodation, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, high-risk terminations, employment agreement disputes, and wage and hour issues. 

After litigating employment disputes for over 20 years and serving as outside counsel for many small to Fortune 500 clients, Kelly gained experience in partnering with employers  to find practical solutions to everyday employment decisions. 

Kelly routinely conducts and manages workplace investigations with a special focus on challenging and high-profile matters. She is a well-respected professional in the field of employment law, having investigated class-based discrimination claims, claims of bullying, harassment, discrimination, retaliation, theft, whistleblowing, embezzlement, and other allegations of workplace misconduct. Kelly graduated from the Association  of Workplace Investigators (AWI) Training Institute and is an  AWI Certificate Holder (AWI-CH).

Kelly also provides training seminars on a wide variety of employment topics. She has presented and trained professional groups and all levels of management in specialized areas of employment law, including the prevention of sexual harassment and discrimination, how to conduct workplace investigations, implicit bias, workplace violence, workplace accommodations, sensitivity in the workplace, managing leaves of absence under FMLA and California state leave laws, and the effective management and prevention of claims.

Kelly is an active member of Lawyers Club of San Diego, San Diego County Bar Association (SDCBA) and a graduate of the inaugural SDCBA Leadership Academy. She is a board member and Vice-President for Crown Point Junior Music Academy and volunteers her time with Professional Alliance for Children and Crawford Academy of Law. 

Kelly lives in San Diego and enjoys traveling, camping, and spending time at the beach and baseball fields with her husband and two sons. She spends her free time playing pickleball and is an avid San Diego Padres fan.

Mr. Leonard J Akselrod, AWI-CH, AWI-CH's Profile

Mr. Leonard J Akselrod, AWI-CH, AWI-CH


Akselrod Investigations, LLC

Leonard Akselrod, AWI-CH comes to us after having recently retired from a 36-year career at the NYC Transit Authority. Lenny was the Sr. Director of Labor Relations for the employees involved in all facets of Subways Operations. This included supervising in- house investigations, collective bargaining, day to day contract administration, grievances, and numerous disciplinary actions. He represented management's interests at hundreds of arbitration hearings and resolved countless thorny issues involving a diverse workforce.?? 
Lenny is a licensed Private Investigator in New York State and runs his own Investigations practice under the Akselrod Investigations, LLC banner. 

Christine A. Slattery J.D. AWI-CH's Profile

Christine A. Slattery J.D. AWI-CH

Special Counsel

Miller Nash LLP