Carnegie Mellon University

Staff Workplace Investigations

The Office of Human Resources may undertake an investigation when allegations of violations of university policy are raised. The objective of the staff workplace investigation process is to determine the facts and whether any institutional policies, standards of conduct or expectations have been violated.


  • These guidelines apply to staff.
  • For members of collective bargaining units, management will work with the Office of Human Resources on investigations as they deem appropriate.
  • Matters concerning discrimination, bias and sexual misconduct are addressed by the Office of Institutional Equity and Title IX.

Investigation Process

Depending on the nature of the complaint and details provided, some reported concerns may not follow this order or include each of these steps.

Initial Assessment

An initial assessment will help determine the appropriate next steps. If it is determined that a workplace investigation should be initiated, the Office of Human Resources will assign an investigator. The investigator will be impartial, objective and possess the necessary skills and time to conduct a thorough and efficient investigation.

Interviews and Materials Collected

Once an investigation is initiated, the investigator may interview the reporting party and others who may have knowledge about the situation reported. This includes the subject(s) of the complaint as well as supervisors and administrators.

All individuals interviewed will be provided with the university’s Policy Against Retaliation. The subject of the complaint will also be provided a description of the allegation(s) as well as a reference to the relevant policy(ies).

The assigned investigator may also collect supplemental information relevant to the investigation.

Investigations will be conducted and concluded as promptly as possible. Many factors can affect the timeline for completing an investigation, including the number and availability of witnesses or the complexity of the issues involved.

Information Reviewed and Analyzed

Once the fact-finding phase is complete, the investigator will holistically evaluate the information collected and make investigative findings. No conclusions will be reached until the investigation is complete. 

Findings and Recommendations Provided

An investigation report may be prepared for the administrator overseeing the division or college where the matter occurred. The report will present investigative findings and outline recommendations, if any, related to the determined conclusion. An investigation report may not be necessary in all cases.

To protect the confidentiality of the process, neither the parties nor witnesses to the investigation will receive a copy of the investigation report.

Investigation Closed

The investigator will discuss any recommendations made in the investigative report with the administrator. Recommendations may include training, a performance improvement plan, or disciplinary measures as outlined in the Staff Handbook [pdf].

The investigator will notify both the reporting party and the responding party that the investigation is closed, and that appropriate action will be taken. If findings are not substantiated, the investigator will notify both the reporting party and the responding party that the investigation is closed with no findings.

The assigned investigator may follow up with involved parties to provide support and closure and to assess the effectiveness of any remediation measures.