IR utilizes three distinct investigative methodologies in facilitating investigations. Investigators work with EEO offices and stakeholders to determine the most efficient and appropriate methodology for each investigation.
A Fact-Finding Conference (FFC) is most suitable when the issues are significant, multiple, or complex; some or all of the facts are in dispute; and there are many witnesses. The FFC method is designed to facilitate the collection of facts in an investigation and is an approved method of investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The FFC does not replace any hearings that may be conducted by the EEOC; it is an administrative, not a judicial proceeding. The FFCs are conducted by IR Investigators.
The FFC is normally conducted at a neutral location at the agency the complaint was filed against. The primary participants are the Investigations and Resolutions Investigator, the Complainant, the management witness (the person who is accused of discrimination, or who made the decision, took the action, or failed to take action that gave rise to the complaint), the agency representative, and a personal representative (if designated by the Complainant). Sworn testimony is taken from the complainant, the management witness, and other witnesses who may have knowledge of the claims in the complaint. A court reporter is in attendance to record testimony and produce a verbatim transcript of the FFC.
During the FFC the Investigator will open the record, ask questions of the complainant, the management witness, and other Identified witnesses, and close the record. The record is developed primarily through the questions asked by the Investigator. The Investigator may allow the primary participants to ask questions to augment the record, as long as the questions are relevant, and not repetitive. The Investigator may go off the record at any time to clarify procedures, obtain documents, or call additional witnesses. Because this is an administrative proceeding, courtroom rules and procedures do not apply.
Advantages are that the FFC results in a verbatim transcript of the proceedings; better credibility determinations can be made; and complaints from more than one complainant regarding the same claim, or multiple claims from the same complainant can be investigated in the same FFC. Finally, the FFC promotes settlement discussion by bringing together those involved in the complaint, often resulting in a mutually agreeable resolution to the complaint.
Fact-Finding Conferences (FFC) Guide
On-site interviews result in an affidavit, which may be in either summary or question and answer format. A Court Reporter may be used which results in a verbatim transcript of the interview. When using the summary affidavit, the points being made must be clear and obvious. Each on-site witness will be offered a copy of his or her affidavit. Interviews of witnesses will be conducted on DoD installations, or designated DoD administrative offices.
On-site Affidavits Guide
This process involves obtaining testimony as a result of telephone interviews and/or the exchange of electronic interrogatories through email. Witness testimony is generally recorded within a “Declaration Under Penalty of Perjury” as provided for by 28 U.S.C. Section 1746. The goal of electronic processing is to conduct an investigation, on average, in less time than any other methodology while using the electronic technologies currently available to investigators to develop Investigative Files that consistently meet or exceed customer requirements.