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The Witness Files: 10 People We Keep Seeing in Workplace Investigations (cont.)

The Witness Files: 10 People We Keep Seeing in Workplace Investigations (cont.)

Bill Nolan

William A. Nolan

Columbus Managing Partner

I have written here and here on BT Currents about the fact that it seems there are a handful of types of characters – among the complainants, the accused and the innocent bystanders alike – who seem to present themselves over and over again in workplace investigations, and a series I have written about these characters and key strategies for dealing with each of them. The 10 characters I have identified are the following:


  • Poor performer
  • Questionable complainant
  • Parting shot complainant
  • Counseled for performance

The Accused

  • Clueless yet compliant
  • Master manipulator
  • High-risk harasser

Third-party Witnesses

  • Squeamish supervisor
  • Reluctant innocent bystander
  • Gossipy witness

Recently I presented the second of two webinars presenting this series in that format. That webinar may be accessed at no charge here, and the first webinar may be accessed at no charge here. They review all of these recurring characters, with accompanying PowerPoint slides as well as audience questions. It is a helpful resource for any reader who may be investigating harassment or other workplace charges.


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