Certificate in Workplace Investigations

It always seems impossible until it’s done. – Nelson Mandela




Whether you're a manager, a small business owner, or an HR or labor relations professional, this program is designed to prepare you to conduct effective, timely, and defensible investigations into all types of alleged misconduct.

Investigators may handle claims of harassment, discrimination, theft, fiscal misconduct, and/or performance and behavioral issues. And the way you handle investigations can have a significant impact on your and the organization’s legal liability, and employee morale.

This interactive virtual program provides opportunities for practice, time for individual questions, and sample forms and worksheets that you can use to develop or revise your investigatory policies and practices. 



By participating in this program, you will be able to confidently implement the 4 steps of successful investigations:

  1. Planning the investigation
    • Creating the file and timeline
    • Identifying evidence to collect
    • Preparing for investigatory interviews
  2. Conducting the investigation
    • Collecting Evidence
    • Interviewing employees
      • In-person or virtually
      • Weingarten Rights of unionized employees
      • Setting the tone and establishing rapport
      • Enhancing participation and dealing with resistance
    • Notetaking
  3. Evaluating the evidence
    • Credibility
    • Inconsistencies
    • Confirming and disconfirming evidence
    • The seven steps of just cause
    • Determining the charge
  4. Documenting the process



Home to one of the top Masters programs in Human Resources and Labor Relations, as well as an internationally recognized doctoral program and a thriving undergraduate program in Human Capital and Society, Michigan State University' School of Human Resources and Labor Relations is known as one of the top institutions for emerging HR and labor professionals.

As an extension of the School of Human Resources and Labor Relations, the Professional Development Program, has become one of the premier provider of professional education and certification in the areas of human resources, labor/employment relations, workers' compensation, and leadership.



  • All of our classes include strategies to maximize learning and ensure an enjoyable, informative learning experience.

MSU employee discount & education assistance available. Please contact Kristi White at whitekr@msu.edu for more information.



  • Plan the investigation
  • Conduct the investigation
    • Evidence
    • Investigatory Interviews
      • Setting the tone, clarifying roles, explaining the process
      • Communicating employee rights, responsibilities and expectations
      • Encouraging admissions
      • Written statements
  • Document the investigation
    • Types and tools
    • Avoiding common errors
  • Evaluating the reporting findings


Tina M. Riley

Dr. Tina M. Riley, is an Associate Professor in the School of Human Resources and Labor Relations at Michigan State University and served as the School's Director of Professional Development and Associate Director for 20 years.

She is a results-based educator and executive coach with expertise helping individual leaders, and organizations, achieve their full potential through high-impact communications that build trust and promote inclusion and engagement.

Her engaging and holistic approach to teaching facilitates learners' ability to move from theory to practice. Her teaching style makes complex concepts accessible to graduate students and seasoned professionals alike. Dr. Riley teaches academic and professional development classes including leadership and interpersonal skills development, labor relations, developing inclusive workplaces and conducting workplace investigations.

With her passionate and engaging style, Dr. Riley develops and presents customized leadership development programs for both public and private sector organizations, from manufacturing to the courts. Organizational leaders and HR professionals from across the globe including Bahrain, Cameroon, Canada, Georgia, India, and Nigeria report finding her programs to be highly beneficial both for individuals, teams, and organizations.

Dr. Riley holds a Ph.D. in Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education, with a concentration in Communications, and a Master of Labor and Industrial Relations from Michigan State University.


  • Registration will close 2 business days before the start of the program or earlier if program enrollment reaches capacity.



  • Cancellation more than 30 calendar days before program start date: Full refund
  • Cancellation 14 – 29 calendar days prior to program start date: 50% cancellation fee, remainder of program fee refunded
  • Cancellation 13 or fewer calendar days prior to program start date: No refund
  • Cancellation fees may be waived if the participant registers and attends the same program within 12 months. Fees may only be waived once.
  • Participants may send a substitute from the same organization for the same program and date by notifying Kristi White via email at least 5 calendar days in advance of program start date.

MSU reserves the right to cancel programs when enrollment criteria are not met or for conditions beyond its control. Any additional costs incurred by the enrollee of canceled programs are the responsibility of the enrollee.



  • MSU's Federal ID Number is 38-6005984
  • Business casual attire.
  • Please, no audio or video recording.



This program has been approved for 7 continuing education credit hours towards Professional Development Program recertification.

Learn more about Recertification


Questions? We would be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding this or any of our training programs. Please contact Director of Professional Development, Melanie Zaremba at mzaremba@msu.edu.