Validating fairness in disciplinary process probity-checking investigation

Salient combines traditional review of communications and case material with separate HR system data to focus investigative efforts under tight deadlines.

Client sector: Law

Technology Used: EDT, Power BI

From Collections, Forensic and Cognitive Analytics, Early Data Assessment (EDA) through to Review and Production, Salient Discovery has the solution.

The Challenge

The client approached Salient Discovery (Salient) after being mandated by a government department to review five years’ worth of employee disciplinary hearings and cases. This was in response to public allegations that the department had been purging employees who were believed to be in disagreement with the current leadership.

To successfully determine potential unfairness, the client would need to not only review the formal case documentation, but also valuable ancillary information relating to role players, case outcomes, the nature of offences etc. stored in a separate Human Resources (HR) system.

Deadlines were tight – reviewing the case documentation, alone, would take too long and only deliver half the picture. The client’s challenge to Salient was to provide a solution that would help prioritise disciplinary cases based on the likelihood of unfairness, and leverage insights from all the available sources, including the separate HR system.

The Salient Solution

Review

To reduce the time needed for review, Salient used the case information from the HR system to build an analytical “scoring matrix” and visualisation of potential unfairness, based on allegation, process followed and outcome. The various tests used by the analytics were developed with the assistance of labour law specialists and senior counsel.

The matrix assisted the client in identifying high-risk cases, as well as trends across criteria such as chairperson, department, allegation, outcome and more. It enabled the prioritised review of the likeliest cases of impropriety, and the identification of a secondary subset of cases for review based on their association with strongly identified trends and/or similarities.

Analysis

All disciplinary case documentation was loaded into our SaaS eDiscovery platform and overlaid with disciplinary case metadata extracted from the HR system alongside the risk scores calculated by our scoring matrix. Labour law specialists then reviewed and coded the documents for possible impropriety and/or unfairness. This coding decision was fed back into the analytics to refine the scoring matrix and iteratively improve its accuracy.

Outcome

Through the initial use of analytics and Salient’s scoring matrix, the client was able to identify cases with the highest likelihood of impropriety and unfairness. These were prioritised for review.

The scoring matrix was also able to identify cases with the lowest likelihood of wrongdoing. These were eliminated from the review, reducing the total number of cases under investigation and shortening the overall project timeline.

As a result, the client was able to complete the review within deadline and substantiate their findings through the use of the scoring matrix and subsequent review of case documentation.