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  • January 29, 2019 3:25 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from BBC

    The work, which depicted a young female figure with a mournful expression, was cut out and removed from one of the emergency doors at the venue.

    "We are today filled with a deep sense of indignation," the Bataclan tweeted.

    In November 2015, 90 people were killed when armed militants targeted the venue during a rock concert.

    "Banksy's work, a symbol of recollection and belonging to all: locals, Parisians, citizens of the world, has been taken from us," the Bataclan wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.

    The theft, which occurred overnight on Friday, involved "a group of hooded individuals armed with angle grinders", AFP news agency reports, citing a source close to the investigation.

    The suspects then reportedly drove away with the artwork in a truck.

    Banksy's art has become extremely popular and sought-after. A piece of his work which appeared on a garage in the UK was recently sold privately for a "six-figure sum".

    Last October, Banksy made headlines after one of his paintings was sold for more than £1m at auction by Sotheby's in London - and then immediately shredded itself.

    Who is Banksy?

    Banksy is a famous - but anonymous - British graffiti artist. He keeps his identity a secret.

    He produces pieces of work which pop up in public places, such as on the walls of buildings. A lot of his art is done in a particular style which people can easily recognize.

    He began spray-painting trains and walls in his home city of Bristol in the early 1990s. But in the 2000s, he expanded his work beyond Bristol and was soon leaving his artistic mark all over the world.

    Earlier this month, a piece of graffiti discovered at a monorail station in Tokyo, Japan, caused a stir for bearing resemblance to the famous Banksy painting "Umbrella rat". 

    See Original Post

  • January 29, 2019 3:21 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Artnet News

    The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has revealed that there’s been an increase in the number of women and people of color in leadership roles at museums, according to the second part of its Art Museum Staff Demographic Survey.

    The percentage of women holding leadership roles—which the survey defines as “all executive positions,” including directors, CEOs, and CFOs—increased from 57 percent to 62 percent between 2015 and 2018. (Directorships, however, remain majority male, as do curatorial roles with management responsibilities.)

    The number of people of color occupying these positions increased only from 11 percent to 12 percent in this same period. One category that saw significant change, however, was the number of African American curators, which doubled from 2015 to 2018.

    The numbers “offer a snapshot of change that is overdue, slow, but also real and welcome,” said Mariët Westermann, executive vice president of the Mellon Foundation, in a statement on the findings.

    The results, gathered last year and released today, are the culmination of a far-reaching survey of data from 332 art museums and more than 30,000 employees. The foundation began the survey in 2014 and published the first round of results in 2015.

    The report, initiated by the Mellon Foundation, the Association of Art Museum Directors, and the American Alliance of Museums, and administered by the research firm Ithaka S+R, shows that progress has been incremental. Women remain the slight majority of total employees at art museums, though that number slips back when it comes to occupying leadership roles; likewise, museums have hired more people of color in recent years, contributing to a more diverse workforce overall, though in small doses.

    Overall, the speed and frequency at which departments are hiring and promoting women and people of color is taking place largely in the curatorial and education departments, which are considerably larger on average. “While trends in recent hiring are encouraging, certain parts of the museum appear not as quick to change, especially the most senior leadership positions,” Westermann said.

    There have been a growing number of initiatives dedicated to addressing the lack of diversity in museums. In July, the American Association of Museum Directors announced a paid internship program for minority college students, while the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation announced a $4 million grant targeting board diversification at museums around the country just a few weeks ago.

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  • January 29, 2019 1:53 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from TechRepublic

    With more than 600 cybersecurity data breaches in 2018 alone, enterprises must be prepared to prevent and mitigate coming attacks, according to Kelvin Coleman, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), a nonprofit public-private partnership promoting cybersecurity and privacy education and awareness.

    Coleman, a former cybersecurity director for the US Department of Homeland Security and the White House National Security Council, has spent his career trying to peer around the corner when it comes to technology, he said. He breaks technology down into three parts: Products, processes, and people. 

    While products and processes can always be improved, the people element tends to be more difficult, Coleman said. 

    It's no secret that cybersecurity should be taken seriously, said Daniel Elliott, director of small business programs at NCSA, which means the CISO should have a seat at the table for all business decisions.

    "Part of that equation, in addition to using big data and insights to inform training and awareness, is to elevate the role of the CISO within the enterprise, and include them in the overall leadership of the organization," he added.

    Here are three trends that will impact enterprise cybersecurity in 2019 and beyond, according to Coleman. 

    1. Rise of Gen Z

    As many members of Generation Z enter the workforce, "none of them have ever lived in this world without their smartphone or their computers," Coleman said. "This is going to have a significant impact on the enterprise this year, and how technology is evaluated and deployed within different generations."

    The rise of Gen Z in the workplace will also impact how companies use technology for fortification, defense, training, development, sales, operations, and most other parts of the enterprise, Coleman said.

    The cybersecurity workforce will also slowly begin to skew younger, Coleman predicted, due to the number of open jobs available, and the number of universities beginning to add coursework in this area. "We know it's only going to grow from here," he added. 

    2. Evolving phishing schemes

    Phishing may be an old threat, but it remains one of the most successful means of attack, Coleman said. "With phishing, we know the adversary is going to continue to evolve to use phishing as a way to literally lure people to download the viruses or malware," he added. Fighting phishing means adequately training employees not to click links or download files that look suspicious, Coleman said.

    These attacks are often effective because they rely on human behavior, rather than a vulnerability in a system, Coleman said. 

    3. Increased focus on employee education

    Businesses must increase their focus on providing employee education around cybersecurity—however, there is no one-size-fits-all method, Coleman said.

    "There are a lot of really great, innovative businesses out there using technology to catch the bad behaviors and then deploying either just-in-time education or sending that feedback back to the organization so they can then provide valuable insights back to leadership to design some programs," he added.

    While it's important for CISOs to keep an eye on emerging technologies and threats, hackers will figure out a way to leverage those to meet their own interests, Elliot said. "But when it comes to securing the enterprise, a lot of it also comes down to not getting caught up in the new technologies so much that we forget the basics of cybersecurity—the two-factor authentication and encryption and segmenting networks," he added. "All those things are so important to organizations."  

    See Original Post

  • January 29, 2019 1:48 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Art Guard

    The Four Types of Motives.

    While recently reflecting on the estimated $4B to $6B figure of art stolen annually I started thinking about the reasons for taking such a high risk, and I stumbled on an interesting article that lists four motives. Not all thieves are in it for the money, as opposed to, say, someone robbing a bank.

    First Type: Show Me The Money.

    The most obvious is one who steals for profit. They’re often sophisticated, but not always. It’s a common misconception that theft of valuable art is useless because of its high visibility in an ever shrinking world, but that fails to take into account a thief taking less money than imagined and increasing his potential buyer base, hiding it away for future opportunities, or worse, destroying it to avoid prosecution. A more recent phenomenon is selling to the Chinese market where it’s easier to find a flush buyer, with lower chances of a piece being identified than on the Western art market.

    Second Type: Trophy-hunting Art Thieves

    Then there are the trophy hunters. They don’t make much money at all and cause themselves endless aggravation, but they enjoy doing it either for the beauty of the art or the adrenaline kick. Remember the movie The Thomas Crown Affair with Pierce Brosnan stealing Monet’s painting of San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk? 

    Third Type: Thieves With Purpose.

    A third category is best exemplified by the Mafia and their history of art theft for potentially long-term goals. In particular, art can be used as a bargaining chip with authorities for any type of negotiation. And for this reason art is often traded or sold among a circle of criminal groups.

    Fourth Type: Crazed Art Fan.

    And sometimes it’s just a crazed art fan. “An unemployed construction worker was jailed in 2010 for stealing Poland’s only Monet and stashing it in his parents’ wardrobe. The AFP reported: The 41-year-old man pleaded guilty to the charges, saying he stole the 1882 Monet canvas titled “Plage de Pourville” from a museum in Poznan, eastern Poland, in 2000 after spending hours admiring it.”

    Art theft will always be a big business and some of the famous art theft stories will stay mysteries and become great movies. If you want to read more about real life art theft that just sounds like Hollywood movies, here is a good article.

    Much of art theft can be stopped by a simple alert to someone close by that a painting has been grabbed. And for galleries and small museums it does not have to be a sophisticated system. The cost effective Safe Hook is a simple and very reliable means of stopping the most common method of theft. In the words of Jacquie Littlejohn, a NYC Gallery owner “Every museum and gallery should have a case of Art Guard Safe Hooks.

    If you are curious to see how Safe Hook works, click here to learn more about how it is a very reliable solution that brings peace of mind.

    See Original Post

  • January 29, 2019 1:44 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Pinnacol Assurance

    When you think of OSHA compliance, hazard communication (HazCom) may not be the first thing that comes to mind. That may be why it was the second most commonly cited OSHA violation in 2017. Employers don’t often prioritize HazCom, simply because they are not familiar with the standard or they are focused on more visible workplace hazards.

    One big reason employers struggle is that the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard may feel like a moving target. In 2012, OSHA aligned its standard with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), and future updates are expected. OSHA has expressed its intention to update HazCom 2012 to align with the UN’s latest version of GHS, which is revised every two years.

    “The OSHA Hazard Communication Standard is one of the most important occupational safety standards because it ensures chemical safety in the workplace,” says Joan Brown, an Industrial Hygienist at Pinnacol. “The standard provides employees with the right to know and understand the hazards associated with the chemicals they use, and how to work with them safely.”

    Learning about and staying up to date on the latest standard will help employers when developing a HazCom program or updating an existing one.

    “A HazCom program describes how your organization will meet the provisions for labeling, safety data sheets and employee training. The program should also include a list of all hazardous chemicals in the workplace, how the employer will inform employees of the hazards of non-routine tasks and the hazards associated with chemicals contained in unlabeled pipes in their work areas,” says Brown. “The program must also be available, upon request, to employees.”

    According to OSHA, employers can implement an effective HazCom program by following these six steps:  

    1. Learn the standard/identify responsible staff
    2. Prepare and implement a written hazard communication program
    3. Ensure containers are labeled
    4. Maintain safety data sheets (SDSs)
    5. Inform and train employees
    6. Evaluate and reassess your program 

    See Original Post


  • January 29, 2019 1:37 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Mutual Art

    After a painting believed to be a rediscovered Michelangelo was stolen from a Belgian church just days before it was due to be authenticated, we take a look at some of the most significant artworks whose whereabouts are still a mystery.

    A painting believed to be a newly discovered Michelangelo was last week stolen from the church of St Ludgerus in Zele, Belgium. The 16th century depiction of the holy family was just days away from undergoing authentication to decide whether or not it was the work of the Renaissance master.

    The church pastor called in experts after he noticed similarities between the painting’s composition and some extant sketches. There was much excitement at the possibility that this was Michelangelo’s lost Madonna del Silenzio.

    But the painting now has the dubious honor of being numbered among the world’s lost or stolen masterpieces. It’s an illustrious list full of big names and hundreds-of-millions of dollars in estimated value. Here are a few choice examples of paintings which have gone AWOL, and the stories behind their disappearance.

    La Mesa Herida (1940), Frida Kahlo

    Despite being the largest and heaviest of Kahlo’s paintings (it’s painted on wood panel rather than canvas), La Mesa Herida (The Wounded Table) was stolen after a blockbuster exhibition of work by Mexican artists in Warsaw in 1955, and hasn’t been seen since.

    The piece went missing somewhere between Poland and Moscow as the popular exhibition made its way towards Russia as part of its global tour. Diego Rivera, the mural painter and Kahlo’s former husband, had specially requested that this painting be included to represent Kahlo’s work in the year of her death (1954).

    In May of 2018, new archival evidence prompted investigator Raúl Cano Monroy to renew efforts to find the painting, now valued at around $20 million. He estimates he will find it in around five years, but for now it remains lost.

    Storm on the Sea of Galilee (1633), Rembrandt van Rijn

    One of the most significant works stolen in the infamous Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist was this extraordinary Rembrandt depicting Christ calming a storm over the sea of Galilee. It’s the only seascape that the Dutch master ever painted.

    On the 18th of May 1990, in the early morning, two men disguised as police officers responding to a call were admitted to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston. They tied up the guards who had allowed them to enter, and set about stealing around $500 million worth of paintings and artefacts. It’s not just the biggest art heist in history, it’s the single biggest theft of private property ever. Even the efforts of the FBI have not led to a single arrest in the 28 years since.

    The Concert (1664), Johannes Vermeer

    For an artist like Vermeer, whose enormous reputation relies on a curiously small number of extant paintings (only 34 are known, including The Concert), a missing work is a big deal. This painting was another which was stolen by the Isabella Stewart Gardner thieves.

    As in the case of The Storm Over Galilee, an empty frame has been left in place of The Concert on the museum's walls, a poignant reminder of its absence.

    View of Auvers-sur-Oise (undated), Cézanne

    As the fireworks over Oxford began on the evening of December 31st 1999, heralding in the new Millennium, a lone thief climbed up construction-scaffolding surrounding one of the University’s libraries. They proceeded to hop across to the rooftop of the Ashmolean, the world’s oldest museum, break through a skylight, and abseil into the building.

    They set off a smoke-bomb, obscuring the CCTV cameras and initiating a callout to the fire-department, meaning security guards had to wait for the emergency response. By the time the fire brigade arrived, the thief had swiped Cézanne’s View of Auvers-sur-Oise, climbed back up through the skylight, and disappeared over the rooftops and down into the crowds of New Year’s revelers.

    To this day, the whereabouts of the painting (valued at $10 million), and the identity of the thief, remain a mystery.

    Poppy Flowers (1887), Vincent van Gogh

    This complex, tenebrous still-life was painted by Van Gogh only three years before his death by suicide. As such, it’s an incredibly valuable piece of art history, as well as being eye-wateringly expensive. The most recent estimate sets its worth at around $50 million.

    It was first stolen from the Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil Museum in Cairo in 1977, and was recovered by authorities a decade later, during its centenary year. It was taken from the same museum again in 2010, and has never been recovered.

    Officials detained two suspects at Cairo International Airport a few hours after the painting went missing for the second time, but these arrests turned out to be red herrings and the real thief or thieves vanished with the piece.

    Le Pigeon aux Petits Pois (1911), Pablo Picasso

    In 2010, the biggest heist since the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum theft took place at the Musée de l’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Among the $100 million worth of art stolen was this painting, The Pigeon With Green Beans, by Picasso.

    According to the thief himself, the painting ended up in a trash bin when he panicked after a police phone-call. Apparently, the container was emptied by waste collection services before the painting was discovered. There’s some doubt around this account, so although it’s considered lost or destroyed the true fate of this piece remains obscure.

    See Original Post

  • January 15, 2019 3:56 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    by Gary S. Miville CIPM II, CIPI, CPO

    RIBI Security - Regional Vice President

    As we work in our different areas throughout the United States there is a constant need for security professionals to network. We have organizations like ASIS International and the IFCPP which help us meet peer to peer, but ultimately we need to enhance our ability strengthen our network to include the Federal government organizations. One organization that I have found especially helpful and insightful is InfraGard.  InfraGard is an alliance for national infrastructure protection. This organization was formed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation around 2003 as a non-profit.  InfraGard’s liaison and outreach efforts have developed close working partnerships, not only between the private sector and the FBI, but with other pivotal agencies, to include the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and Small Business Administration (SBA).

    InfraGard partnership is an association of persons who represent businesses, academic institutions, state and local law enforcement/public safety agencies, and other participants dedicated to sharing information and intelligence to prevent hostile acts against the U.S. The InfraGard National Members Alliance is comprised of 84 chapters representing over 50,000 vetted members, to include critical sector subject matter experts on protecting the 16 Critical Sectors.

    InfraGard provides its members with unmatched opportunities to promote the physical and cyber security of their organizations, through access to a trusted, national network of Subject Matter Experts from the public and private sectors, and government stakeholders, at the local, state, and federal levels. InfraGard engages subject matter experts and address threat issues across each of the 16 sectors of critical infrastructures and key resources recognized by Presidential Policy Directive-21, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Infrastructure Protection Plan.

    To become a member of InfraGard there are a list of requirements.

    •      U.S  Citizen, 18 years or older
    •      Affiliated with a critical infrastructure sector
    •      Consent to and pass FBI security risk assessment and periodic re- certification
    •      Agree to adhere to InfraGard Code of Ethics and Information Sharing Policies.

    If you are interested on becoming an InfraGuard member or you would just like to attend a meeting with a member. Go to www.infragard.org for more information.

  • January 15, 2019 3:50 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from The Washington Post

    A group representing FBI agents warned Thursday that the partial government shutdown is threatening national security as thousands of federal law enforcement professionals, working without pay, grow anxious that personal financial hardships may jeopardize their security clearances and as furloughs of their support staffs slow investigations.

    The shutdown is the result of President Trump’s insistence that more miles of border wall be built in the interest of national security — to keep migrants and drugs from entering illegally — and Democrats’ refusal to go along with his demands for $5.7 billion in wall-construction funds. With the shutdown well into its third week, groups representing government employees ranging from those who patrol borders and guard courthouses to those who make undercover drug buys have expressed alarm that the political drama has reduced them to bargaining chips while they continue doing dangerous jobs that keep Americans safe.

    “It’s uncharted territory, as this shutdown is going to be the longest in history,” said Thomas O’Connor, president of the FBI Agents Association. “For special agents, financial security is national security.”

    Of particular concern to FBI personnel is Friday’s missed paycheck — their first since the shutdown began in late December.

    In a letter to the White House and lawmakers, FBIAA leaders wrote that their agents “are subject to high security standards that include rigorous and routine financial background checks. . . . Missing payments on debts could create delays in securing or renewing security clearances, and could even disqualify agents from continuing to serve in some cases.”

    O’Connor said FBI investigations already are being affected. No one at the FBI is getting paid, but investigators are still working while much of their support staffs, including some surveillance experts, are not, O’Connor said. The FBI lab in Quantico, Va., has faced significant staff reductions, and the money available for investigative expenses such as undercover drug buys is dwindling, he said.

    “Operations are being hindered,” O’Connor said. “This situation is not sustainable.”

    The FBI has nearly 13,000 special agents, and already some families are making tough choices to manage household finances. Several current FBI employees said Thursday they worry that there is no sign of the shutdown being resolved soon and that, as a result, they could miss not one but two paychecks.

    Dave Gomez, a retired FBI supervisor whose wife works at the bureau, said he is pulling money from his retirement savings to make sure they can pay their mortgage.

    Gomez, who experienced a shutdown during the Obama administration, said that back then he told his agents not to worry, because shutdowns last only a week or two, not long enough to miss a paycheck.

    “What’s happening now is a shock for a lot of agents, and I think you will see a lot of agents stressed about missing a paycheck,” he said. “FBI agents aren’t different than other Americans in that a lot of people live paycheck to paycheck.”

    The shutdown affects all the federal law enforcement agencies within the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. U.S. marshals guarding the trial of accused drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán in New York, amid extremely tight security, are working without pay. Agents with the Secret Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel and Customs and Border Protection officers all are working without pay and much of their support staffers.

    “The thing that concerns us the most,” said Patrick O’Carroll, executive director of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, “is with all the ‘nonessential’ personnel that are not showing up. With active investigations and arrests, when you start taking out the analysts, you’re losing a big part of that.”

    FLEOA has warned its members “to be extra vigilant and cautious performing your duties” because of the increased risks associated with not having support staffers available.

    The shutdown debate is more complicated within the Border Patrol, because many of those agents support Trump’s demand for more wall construction.

    Border Patrol union leaders appeared at the White House last week to show their support for Trump, despite agents working without pay. While the president continues to have broad support within the Border Patrol, some agents say there is growing worry among the rank and file about missed car payments and late mortgages. Many of those who are assigned to remote border towns are their families’ sole breadwinner.

    “People have started to contact creditors,” said one agent in Arizona who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment to reporters.

    Morale is sinking because agents are already under strain after a busy period along the border, with record numbers of families coming across, according to one agent in South Texas who also spoke on the condition of anonymity. This agent, also not authorized to comment publicly, faulted Democrats for the shutdown.

    The National Border Patrol Council’s fealty to the president is not shared by the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents the blue-uniformed Customs and Border Protection officers assigned to U.S. ports of entry, an even larger workforce.

    “If employees are working, they must be paid — and if there is not money to pay them, then they should not be working,” NTEU President Tony Reardon said in a statement Wednesday after his union filed a suit alleging that federal laws that force workers to stay on the job without pay are unconstitutional.

    See Original Post

  • January 15, 2019 3:44 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from The Denver Post

    A representative of the Denver Art Museum told police the facility suffered nearly $2 million in losses following the vandalism spree last month in which a suspect is accused of damaging centuries-old artifacts from China and the Mayan civilization.

    Museum officials said Monday they’re still working to determine total damages in the wake of the December incident. Staffers at the museum had not publicly attached a dollar figure to the vandalism.

    Denver police arrested Jake Siebenlist, 18, on suspicion of felony criminal mischief in the amount of $1 million or more on Dec. 9. Siebenlist appeared briefly in court Monday, and is scheduled to be arraigned on the charge March 14, according to Denver District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Carolyn Tyler.

    Siebenlist reportedly pushed and shattered a glass structure, threw sculptures across a room and shattered artwork onto the ground in the museum’s “Stampede: Animals in Art” exhibit, according to a probable cause statement prepared by Denver police.

    He also allegedly shoved museum patrons out of his way and tried to punch security officers who restrained him until police arrived. He was then transported to Denver Health Medical Center for minor injuries.

    Among the damaged items were a rare Mayan vessel and a 19th-century Chinese vase.

    The probable cause statement details damages and destruction to 10 items, estimated at about $1.93 million by a museum employee. The employee told police further evaluations likely would increase that amount, according to the document.

    The Denver police document listed the damaged items as: Wolf Headdress Mask, Raven Rattle Tlingit, Jaina Style Figurine, Moche Portrait Bottle, Chinese Vase with Phoenixes, Moche Rattle Bowl, Mayan Fish-Shaped Vessel, Maya Vessel with God on Bird, Chinese Initiator Sculpture and Beware of Cranes Sculpture.

    Museum spokeswoman Jena Pruett said Monday that the costs of the damages from the incident are still being evaluated as the museum works to repair some of the artwork, and she would not comment on estimated costs.

    See Original Post

  • January 15, 2019 3:33 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Security Magazine

    One after another, reports involving allegations of sexual misconduct continue to be made public. Many of these reports follow a similar scenario—a middle-aged, executive-level man allegedly uses his power and influence to target, and sometimes sexually assault, a person over whom he has power. When true, the events behind these stories can leave the victims and their families scarred and damaged for life. Given what’s at stake, many victims and their advocates have turned to Twitter to express solidarity and expose their alleged abusers, using the #MeToo hashtag. By now, the #MeToo movement has become a worldwide phenomenon, and its impact has put employers of every stripe on notice. 

    In the United States, the federal government’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been vocal on the topic. Recently, EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum publicly offered three overarching recommendations to employers attending an Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies conference: Change workplace culture; hold people accountable; and implement the right policies, procedures, and training. 

    These directives are helpful, but seasoned security professionals, like their counterparts in HR, know that the problem requires more than recommendations and policy tweaks. Experienced security managers know that workplace behavior is modified and office cultures are changed when allegations of misconduct are taken seriously and investigated properly and thoroughly. Together, these serious attitudes and activities buttress what ethics and compliance experts call an organization’s compliance regime. When that regime is fair, disciplined, and combined with sound policies, clear expectations, and exemplary leadership, it forms the foundation of the organization’s culture and, ultimately, its reputation and identity.

    Recognizing this, organizations of all sizes are increasingly turning to security professionals to either assist HR in conducting internal investigations or to conduct the investigations themselves. This is a serious responsibility, so it is important to keep in mind that a successful workplace investigation is a complex undertaking. It is time consuming and fraught with the potential for legal liability. It can also be expensive. 

    A proper investigation requires an intricate mixture of skill, experience, and patience. Those who attempt one without an understanding of the fundamentals are more likely to fail. The case study ("From Consensual to Concerning,"​​​ below) is provided to help the reader better understand how these fundamentals play out during an investigation. 

    ​Fact Finding

    Experienced investigators know that few workplace activities invoke so much risk—and at the same time, so much opportunity—as an investigation. An improperly conducted workplace investigation can be ruinous and harm the careers of everyone involved. But a well-executed investigation bolsters an organization’s culture, which in turn enhances its reputation and its identity.  

    Successful investigations often rely on teams. In #MeToo investigations, the typical team includes three groups: fact finders, advisors, and decision makers. 

    Fact finders gather information. They take direction from the appointed advisors and pursue the investigation’s objectives by means of thoughtful and deliberate fact-finding. Their purpose requires them to be objective, so they must do their work in a fair, impartial, thorough, and purposeful manner.

    Fact finders’ tasks often include the gathering and proper preservation of physical, electronic, and testimonial evidence. Their results are typically packaged in a formal report and ultimately provided to the decision maker by way of the advisor. Under ideal circumstances, that advisor is legal counsel, so the fact finder’s report can be designated as attorney work product and shielded against unwanted discovery or disclosure. This practice is not nefarious; it is legal and proper and often in the best interest of all parties.

    ​Process 

    To fulfill the objectives of the assigned investigation, the effective fact finder must have a process. Remarkably, many fact finders and decision makers, regardless of their level of experience or training, have little or no process to work with. Lacking this, the fact finders often spend more time and resources on their tasks than necessary, produce inconsistent results, and create unnecessary liabilities for those they serve. No investigation, regardless of its objectives or scope, can be successful if not properly engineered and driven by process. 

    Although certain details may differ from incident to incident, the processes used by successful investigations usually have similar attributes. The investigation has meaningful and well-defined objectives; it is properly and lawfully executed; it is fair and impartial; and it produces results that are accurately documented and communicated. 

    Also, to achieve maximum efficiency, an investigation should unfold incrementally and progressively, in distinct phases. Each phase should be engineered to build on the phase that preceded it. Generally, #MeToo investigations include these phases: assessment; preparation and planning; information and evidence gathering (fact finding), which usually includes the interviewing of the complainant; and verification and analysis, which invariably includes the interviewing of the alleged wrongdoer.

    The investigation process should also be open to the possibility that additional complainants may come forward, necessitating  the expansion of the initial investigation. Indeed, organizations that are experienced in investigations often anticipate both new and expanded allegations once the investigation of the initial complaint begins. This anticipation helps the organization craft and implement containment strategies and bake them into the overall investigative approach.

    For example, one such containment strategy is to lock down the scope of the initial allegations with written statements provided by the accuser. Doing so prevents subsequent embellishment of the initial complaints. 

    As the investigation progresses, some fact finders put all their focus on the third phase—information gathering and the interviewing of the accuser—and then once they have amassed a rich collection of facts, evidence, and information, they conclude their investigation. This is a mistake, because even the most impressive collection of evidence requires analysis and verification. Without clarifying analysis, those to whom the fact finders report may receive an incomplete result, which may deny them a thorough understanding of the matter. 

    The four phases of the investigative process give the fact finder the structure necessary to be effective. They also help when it comes to optics; following a phased process helps the fact finder transcend the dated image of a bumbling corporate gumshoe and may elevate him or her to the professional standing of an expert investigator.

    ​Results and Metrics

    Fact finders should never play the role of decision maker. To do so is unfair and creates the appearance of prejudice. Sadly, HR professionals make this mistake frequently.

    In many organizations, HR is routinely responsible for all internal investigations. In addition, HR either decides the appropriate discipline or makes recommendations regarding such to the decision makers. The criminal justice equivalent of this would be for law enforcement personnel to determine the punishment of those they arrest—clearly, not a wise practice. Similarly, investigative best practices call for all final decision making, as well as the disbursement of disciplinary or corrective action, to be a separate process from fact finding, and not conducted by the same people. 

    Like most effective processes, the investigative process should generate measurable results. Frequently, organization leaders will measure results in terms of the actionable evidence accumulated. However, the first and most immediate metric should be return on investment (ROI). For example, properly engineered and executed investigations generally produce tangible, measurable results such as the recovery of stolen property or money, the termination of dishonest employees or vendors, or successful prosecution. Other possible measurable results are civil recovery, restitution, damage awards, and successful insurance claims. 

    However, when investigating a #MeToo allegation, the achievement and recognition of measurable ROI is more difficult. Still, process-driven investigations enable the ability to generate statistical results that can be used over time to measure effectiveness and identify opportunities for process improvement. The ASIS International Investigations Standard (ANSI/ASIS INV.1-2015) identifies this methodology as the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) model.

    When properly used, PDCA provides a repeatable and scalable framework for the conduct of one’s #MeToo investigations. Without process and structure, the investigator has no means to measure results and show value to their customer. Even worse, the process becomes more vulnerable to claims of bias, ineptitude, and discrimination. 

    Legal Issues

    Workplace investigations are fraught with liability. Internal investigations, by definition, involve the investigation of people who have a relationship with the organization. Usually, they are people the organization employs or does business with. Many consider themselves “insiders.” As such, they have special rights and expectations. They may carry a sense of entitlement and self-importance. 

    These considerations add to the complexity of the fact-finding process, and to the reaction of the subject to the investigation’s findings and management’s corrective actions.

    Clearly, this path is filled with legal obstacles and challenges. On the other hand, the totality of these complexities gives the properly prepared and equipped employer a decisive competitive advantage. The #MeToo investigator should have at least a working knowledge of criminal, civil, and employment law. 

    The employer that can efficiently bring an end to workplace harassment, discrimination, or a toxic workplace without litigation or a public relations debacle has a significant competitive advantage over the employer that cannot. Thus, a skilled and savvy investigator can be an asset to almost any organization.   

    ​From Consensual to Concerning

    Investigations in sexual harassment must address a variety of situations, many of which do not fit the typical #MeToo mold. For example, in one real-life incident, a romantic relationship turned sour, requiring security to launch an investigation.

    The participants, whom we will call Christopher and Meredith, met each other at work. He was a regional vice president and she an entry-level analyst. Over a period of several months they began to date, and then entered into a consensual romantic relationship. Christopher started acting jealous and possessive, insisting that he know with whom Meredith talked, exchanged emails, and took breaks while at work. Meredith later described this as romantic obsessive behavior. She decided to terminate the relationship. 

    Christopher, still driven by possessive feelings, began to stalk her. He started following her home after she left work. Meredith no longer felt safe at work or anyplace else, and she reported her concerns to HR. Pursuant to established protocols, HR immediately reached out to the director of corporate security and requested assistance to investigate Meredith’s allegations. Security, working with the legal department, determined that the matter was sufficiently work-related and that, if true, the claims were actionable. Thus, two investigators were assigned. The security director and HR discussed and defined the investigation’s objectives.

    Meredith submitted to a formal interview. She revealed that not only was Christopher constantly monitoring her at work, but he was following her everywhere, even when she was on vacation. Further investigation produced evidence that Christopher used the organization’s email system to communicate threats. In addition, Christopher was using company computers to store inappropriate images of Meredith, which were secretly taken by him without her consent. 

    Though engaged by HR, the investigation team reported to general counsel, thus preserving the attorney work product privilege. Upon viewing Meredith’s written allegations, Christopher’s threatening email messages to her, and the stored images, counsel advised HR that Christopher’s termination was both appropriate and legally defensible. However, counsel also recommended that Christopher be interviewed and asked to explain his behavior and provide any extenuating circumstances or mitigating evidence. 

    During the subsequent interview with the investigator and his witness, Christopher conceded his obsession with Meredith and his related behavior. In writing, he agreed to cease this unwanted behavior, resign, and never communicate with Meredith again.

    Following the acceptance of his resignation, Christopher left quietly. This case reveals a few valuable lessons. One is that a team approach to #MeToo investigations improves efficiency and results. HR, security, and general counsel all worked together, and had important roles to play. Another is that allowing the terminated employee to leave with his or her dignity intact usually costs nothing and often produces priceless results.

    Common Mistakes in #MeToo Investigations

    1. Using law enforcement vernacular instead of the language of business. Good investigators use the language of their internal customer.

    2. Seeking employee prosecution as an objective. The decision to prosecute should be made for business reasons only.

    3. Bending the rules. Rules, policies, and laws provide organizations with structure and order. Failing to obey them is a disservice to the organization.

    4. Interviewing the accused before properly interviewing the accuser and documenting his or her allegations.

    5. Permitting or insisting that the fact finder make recommendations regarding corrective action. Leave this to the decision makers. 

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