July 8, 2021

Employers, investigators, and decision-makers are often required to make determinations about the credibility and reliability of employee statements and testimony as part of their work. But how do decision-makers determine whether a witness is lying? And what weight do they attach to such a determination? What role does an investigator or decision-maker’s assessment play in determining the appropriate penalty? In this session, experts will tackle these difficult questions along with the following:

  • What factors should be taken into account in assessing credibility? What role, if any, should demeanour play in assessing credibility?
  • What is the difference between credibility and reliability? How do these two concepts relate to the idea of honesty?
  • In practice, how do investigators and decision-makers determine someone’s credibility or honesty? What role do an investigator or decision-maker’s personal biases play? How accurately can people assess credibility?
  • How does trauma affect memory, and what challenges does this pose for investigators or arbitrators in assessing credibility?
  • Are there methods of questioning, interviewing, or observing witnesses that increase the accuracy of credibility assessments?
  • What inferences should be drawn from a grievor’s silence during an investigation or arbitration? What reasons aside from guilt might a grievor have for remaining silent? What important policy considerations argue for or against a grievor’s right to remain silent without an adverse inference being drawn?
  • What role do the perceived honesty and remorse of grievors play in arbitrators’ assessments of reinstatement and progressive discipline?
  • Does an emphasis on confession and apology deprive unionized employees of the right to a fair arbitration process? Are confession and apology relevant to the determination of appropriate progressive discipline? If an arbitrator perceives a grievor to be lying at arbitration, should the arbitrator uphold a harsher penalty than would otherwise be called for?