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Investigating Conflict of Interest & Nepotism

Synergy Workplace Investigations can examine conflict of interest issues discretely and meticulously and advise on ways forward if allegations are substantiated.

conflict of interestFrom time to time, concerns can surface about managers in your organisation unfairly awarding jobs to their friends and family or having private associations or business interests that could compromise the integrity of their position and the public trust in your organisation.

Allegations of conflict of interest and nepotism are serious and could represent Serious or Official Misconduct warranting disciplinary action or dismissal in some instances.

Allegations of this nature can be tricky to investigate and may require specialist expertise and methodology to verify.

Our expert team of investigators can take a forensic look at allegations surrounding conflict of interest and nepotism and help you make a sound determination.

Examples of Conflict of Interest

A conflict of Interest occurs when a person’s personal interests or associations are such that their impartiality or ability to operate in the best interests of their employer is compromised. Conflicts can be pecuniary, offering some potential for financial gain or non-pecuniary, where no money is involved.

Conflicts of Interest can occur without anyone being aware or at fault, but when they do occur, it is essential to manage them effectively. In some cases, employees are fully aware of the conflict and will go to lengths to hide it. In this case, an investigation is necessary to establish the facts so that a forward solution can be implemented. The following are some typical examples of situations in which an employee might knowingly have a conflict of interest:

  • A supervisor has a relative or close friend as a direct report. The supervisor is responsible for pay and promotions with regard to the report.
  • An employee starts a company that operates in direct competition with her employing company.
  • An employee who is a member of a selection panel fails to disclose that she is related to a short listed job candidate.
  • An employee has a second job working for a company that makes a competing product.
  • A staff member provides paid consulting services after hours to a company customer or supplier.
  • An HR director decides to lead an internal investigation into a sexual harassment complaint made against a fellow executive with whom she has worked for many years.
  • A manager establishes a romantic relationship with a direct report.
  • A procurement officer selects his sister-in-law’s company to provide goods or services to the company.
  • A member of the Board accepts payment for providing advice to a company competitor.
  • A company executive remains on a tender selection panel despite having received a travel junket from a tendering company 12 months previously.