As corporate misconduct, such as sexual harassment and discrimination, continue to make headlines, companies are becoming increasingly focused on detecting bad behaviors so they can be appropriately managed. According to a survey conducted by Consilio, a global leader in eDiscovery, document review, risk management, and legal consulting services, the majority of legal professionals (77 percent) believe their companies have either somewhat or to a great extent increased investment in resources to detect bad behaviors that go against the companys mission (i.e. discrimination, sexual harassment, fraud, IP theft, etc.).
The survey found that many organizations use more than one approach to facilitate investigations, though most were handled internally through the compliance department (66 percent) or investigations department (45 percent). Twenty eight percent of respondents said their companies facilitate investigations externally through a law firm, followed by investigations facilitated via consultants (16 percent).
Compliance departments that are running most internal investigations often are better equipped to detect financial vs. non-financial corporate misconduct such as fraud or embezzlement, said Roger Miller, Managing Director at Consilio. In our experience, technology used by compliance departments largely relies on simple keyword and/or number-based searches. However, detection of non-financial wrongdoing at companies through digital communications like email, IM, and text is opaque and often requires more sophisticated technology, such as contextual analytics1 to identify.
Miller went on to comment, In a hypothetical keyword search to detect the occurrence of bribery in a company, contextual analytics provide the ability to search for the definition of the word bribe or use its legal definition in the FCPA and/or UK Bribery Act. This technology allows investigators to identify incriminating document(s) even if a bad actor is trying to obfuscate their misconduct.
Respondents cited fraud (72 percent) among the most common types of investigations at their company, to their knowledge. This was followed by non-financial bad behaviors including: discrimination (60 percent), IP theft (52 percent), and sexual harassment (51 percent). The least common investigations cited were tied to antitrust/pricing fixing (42 percent) and the FCPA/UK Bribery Act (29 percent).
Traditionally, compliance departments are designed to monitor, train, and implement compliance mandates and company policy, said Miller. However, they often have outdated technology that isnt well designed to detect behavioral workplace misconduct, like discrimination or sexual harassment, the latter of which is being reported more often in light of the #MeToo movement. Having the right technology in place is critical for organizations to broaden the types of workplace wrongdoing they are able to detect.
Proactive vs. Reactive Approach in Identifying Bad Behaviors
Sixty-two percent of legal professionals said that they are very confident their company is proactively identifying bad behaviors that go against the companys mission. Further, when asked whether their company has existing policies and/or technology, such as financial or behavioral audits and communication monitoring, to identify high risk behavior in employees, an overwhelming majority (74 percent) said these measures are in place.
For internal investigations, the difference between proactively and reactively detecting corporate misconduct can be monumental. A reactive approach carries the risk of significant reputational, legal, and financial damage if appropriate investigative resources – including staff and technology – are not deployed quickly to determine if any alleged wrongdoing is occurring. Corporations that can proactively identify high risk behavior are better positioned to minimize corporate misconduct, improve employee morale, and improve the companys bottom line.
While the survey suggests that companies are equipped to proactively identify corporate misconduct, there is still room for improvement, said Miller. Contextual analysis technology is still in early adoption stages among many Fortune 500 companies. With this advanced technology, companies have the ability to pinpoint behavioral red flags and be empowered to more effectively identify, manage, and mitigate bad behavior before it escalates.
The survey of 138 legal professionals from in-house law departments, law firms, and government affiliated entities, was conducted from January 29 “ 30, 2019 by Consilio at the Legalweek conference.
Consilio is a global leader in eDiscovery, document review, risk management, and legal consulting services. The company supports multinational law firms and corporations using innovative software, cost-effective managed services and deep legal and regulatory industry expertise. Consilio has extensive experience in litigation, HSR second requests, internal and regulatory investigations, eDiscovery, document review, information governance, compliance risk assessments, cybersecurity, law department management, contracts management, legal analytics, paper discovery and digital printing, as well as legal recruiting and placement. Consilio and its global family of companies, Advanced Discovery, Altep, Millnet Document Services and Legal Placements Inc., employ leading professionals in the industry, applying defensible workflows with patented and industry-proven technology across all phases of the eDiscovery and risk management lifecycle. ISO 27001:2013 certified, the company operates offices, document review and data centers across Europe, Asia, and North America. For more information, please visit us at www.consilio.com.
1 Contextual analytics, otherwise known as Latent Semantic Indexing or LSI, allows an investigator to search digital communications text by themes, topics and definitions, rather than keywords. While based on math, contextual analytics is language agnostic.