Ms. Patricia A. Kotze Co-Founder
Litigation arising from workplace misconduct costs employers billions of dollars annually. Increasingly, lawsuits are focused on the quality of the investigation. Don’t just get the facts. Understand them. Diversified Risk Management, Inc. goes beyond solving problems, so you know why things happen, not just that they happened. We have the experience and qualifications to conduct effective workplace investigations that will produce objective results and withstand scrutiny.
Diversified Risk Management, Inc. is a licensed corporate investigation and consulting firm specializing in internal security, risk mitigation and workplace investigations. We understand the sensitive legal issues involved in handling a situation that could potentially result in some form of litigation and recommend all our clients to retain a qualified Employment Law attorney. Our team of bilingual, qualified investigators and security experts have years of experience and understand the issues of concern faced by employers in today’s business environment.
Our firm specializes in conducting investigations resulting from
- Employee Misconduct
- Sexual Harassment
- Substance Abuse
- Theft and Dishonesty
- White-collar Crimes
- Workers’ Compensation Fraud
- Workplace Accidents
- Workplace Violence
- Employment Background Checks
- Due Diligence Research in 190+ countries
- Litigation Support
- Security Risk Analysis Surveys
- Specialized Investigative Interviews
- Undercover Investigations
In some cases investigative and legal service fees are reimbursed to the client by the convicted perpetrator(s) of the crime. From hiring or firing an employee to acquiring/merging a business, INTELLIGENT INFORMATIONsm is vital and necessary.
Our proven techniques and services enable employers to:
- Reduce Liability
- Improve Morale
- Increase Profits
- Create A Safer Workplace
- Solve Problems
- Get The Facts
Thus enabling executives to make smart and well informed business decisions that save time and money. Our proprietary interviewing techniques yield high success rates for obtaining voluntary admissions and solving complex cases that produce tangible, measurable results.
Who Should Conduct Your Investigation?
Investigation firms that truly specialize in workplace investigations are few and far between. As of May 2004, there were approximately 9,952 licensed investigators in California and it’s estimated that only 10% of these investigators have experience in conducting workplace investigations. As a result, most private investigators do not have the experience or understand the sensitive legal issues involved in dealing with a situation that could result in litigation. Employers and their attorneys will often engage an independent human resources consultant to investigate a workplace matter. While such consultants may have the skill necessary to do an excellent job, there may be some hidden legal problems.
Private Investigator Act
The California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) requires that any firm or individual who investigates alleged misconduct or makes determinations of credibility for the benefit of an employer must possess a private investigators license. Anyone who violates the law may be subject to a fine of $5000 or imprisonment of one year in county jail or both. The Act does not apply to investigations conducted by an actual employee of the employer or to an attorney at law.
Although Human Resource consultants who conduct investigations without a private investigators license may be fined by the DCA, the law does not impose any specific penalty on the employer who retains the unlicensed HR consultant. Of potentially greater significance, however, an employee terminated for misconduct may be able to challenge the validity of the investigation that was not conducted by a licensed private investigator. This makes any actions or decisions by the employer based on the investigation vulnerable to litigation.
A qualified attorney can certainly conduct most types of investigations; however, the issue of attorney-client privilege is an important concern. If the investigation is ever the subject of litigation, the employer will almost certainly need to present all or part of the investigation as evidence at trial. If the attorney who performed the investigation is also advising the employer as to what actions or decisions to take as a result of the investigation, the attorney may be forced to testify about privileged matters. Even if the privileged matters could be compartmentalized, as a witness in the case, the attorney would be precluded from representing the employer in litigation. So, what should an employer do if an investigation is required? Here are some considerations.
- Select an employee who can remain unbiased to conduct the investigation (with the guidance and privileged advice of qualified employment counsel). The employee must be able to keep all matters confidential.
- Retain an independent employment attorney who can perform the investigation with the understanding that his/her efforts may be subject to litigation discovery.
- Identify a licensed and qualified investigation firm which has specific expertise in workplace investigations.
Ms. Patricia A. Kotze is managing partner at of Diversified Risk Management, Inc. (DRM), which is headquartered in Southern, California. The firm is licensed by the California Bureau of Security & Investigative Services as required by law to perform investigations. Prior to forming the firm she served as Senior Vice President, Director, and Manager of Corporate Investigations for three national investigation firms.
With over 20 years of experience, she has assisted many employers including several Fortune 1000 corporations to mid and small size companies in over 40 states, Canada, Mexico, and abroad. Industries served include aerospace, automotive, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, electronics, computer technology, newspaper, transportation, agriculture, steel products, forestry, food manufacturing/processing, law firms, municipalities, non-profit organizations and all facets of manufacturing and warehouse distribution.
Ms. Kotze has been instrumental in reducing costs associated with employee theft, fraud, substance abuse, various forms of misconduct and other crimes against the business.