Best Workplace Investigation Stories

Sexual harassment by ‘chicken hold’ and other bizarre behavior

Posted by Dawn Lomer in on October 20th, 2011

Ever heard the one about the dead body in the freezer? No, it’s not the introduction to a joke, but an actual discovery during a fraud investigation, reported to us last year when we were gathering best investigation stories at the conferences we attended.

This year, at our exhibition booths at the SCCE CEI conference, the ECOA Annual Ethics and Compliance Conference, and the HR Tech Conference, we again prompted attendees to tell us some of their most interesting, bizarre, shocking or just plain funny investigation stories. It’s amazing what people will dredge up when there’s an i-Pad to be won.

We heard tales of workplace discrimination, harassment investigations, fraud, embezzlement and all sorts of other cases of deception, misconduct and crime.

The Chicken Hold

One male employee who was accused of sexual harassment of a female co-worker was adamant that he had not crossed the line. Investigation interviews were conducted with the alleged victim, several witnesses and the accused employee’s supervisor.

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When the accused was questioned about whether he had harassed his co-worker, he replied that no, he had not. He had simply placed her into a “chicken hold” against her will. That’s ok, isn’t it?

He was disciplined and sent for counseling.

The Student Scam

After anomalies were found in the finances of a large US university, the assistant auditor uncovered evidence of possible fraud. At the same time, complaints were coming in from international students whose visas were being revoked because their fees had not been paid. The police and FBI were called in to investigate.

After interviewing employees in accounts, students and auditors, the investigators found that an accounts receivables clerk had been cashing the cheques from international students and skimming from the university’s accounts to the tune of more than $100,000.

She was dismissed and charged with fraud.

The Urine Collector

Another story involved an employee at a construction company who was being accused by his co-workers of harboring a collection of 30 bottles of urine in his desk drawer. Management, recognizing the dangers of labeling employees based on their behavior, nevertheless suspected a case of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and approached the situation with caution.

On further examination, it was found that the employee was, indeed, storing urine in his desk drawer, but not because he had OCD. Further investigation revealed that he was selling the bottles to co-workers to help them pass the company’s mandatory drug tests.

He was disciplined appropriately and a new investigation was launched to find the coworkers who had purchased the drug-free samples.

Other stories included discoveries of felony charges against high-level managers, undisclosed charges of sexual harassment, and even a hidden murder conviction.

A few i-Pads were a small price to pay for such entertainment!


Dawn Lomer
Dawn Lomer

Managing Editor

Dawn Lomer is the managing editor at i-Sight Software and a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). She writes about topics related to workplace investigations, ethics and compliance, data security and e-discovery, and hosts i-Sight webinars.