July 25, 2016

As if Gretchen Carlson's allegations against Roger Ailes, the founder -- and until last week, Chairman and CEO of Fox News, weren't shocking enough, http://www.workplacesthatwork.com/newsletter/july11-2016.php this week's news brought fresh scandals to rock the network.
According to The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/22/business/media/roger-ailes-fox-news.html?_r=0 before Ailes was asked by Rupert Murdoch to resign, he was asking other employees, including famous anchors such as Megyn Kelly, to refuse to cooperate in the investigation. Allegedly, according to the Times, Kelly herself was subjected to unwanted advances from Ailes early in her career and retained an attorney in case it affected her advancement.
Sources close to the investigation described the pressure as a sort of "loyalty oath", and evidently Ailes misbehaved so badly that he had to be barred from the building, according to the Times.

You cannot interfere with an ongoing investigation 
by telling people not to cooperate, 
especially if you're their boss.

To those of us who do such investigations, this is "Investigation 101" and could also be viewed as retaliation. You cannot interfere with an ongoing investigation by telling people not to cooperate, especially if you're their boss. You cannot try to shape the narrative of the investigation by making sure that only your views are heard.
I'm sure that the very prestigious and reputable New York law firm conducting the investigation (Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison) was advising Fox that they were setting themselves up for a retaliation claim if they allowed such conduct to occur. Fox had the obligation to remain neutral until the investigation was concluded, as difficult as that might be, and Ailes certainly needed to stay away from anything that could be construed as interference with the investigation.
What Should You Do?
If you are unlucky enough to be in the middle of a workplace investigation, take a deep breath and stay out of it. Cooperate with investigators. Resist the urge to talk to other people in your workgroup about what is happening. If you have questions, talk to the investigators, your attorneys or HR.

Did You Know?

We conduct workplace investigations, as well as training HR practitioners, attorneys and others to conduct legally defensible investigations. For more information, call or write us at: 303-216-1020 or [email protected]

Be sure to read Lynne's helpful book on sexual harassment.

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