Should I Give a Statement About Something That Happened Two Months Ago?

A question to the Workplace Doctors: I’m being asked to make a statement
about something that happened two months ago. What should I do? 


I am currently on leave but my supervisor sent me a message to say I must come into work and write a statement about something that happened almost two months ago.  The problem is that the situation didn’t actually happen in my department at work, it happened in another department with which my department interacts. When the situation happened, the guys told me about it and I told them to follow procedures and report the matter to the right people. They didn’t tell me what they ended up doing.

Now, I’ve been instructed by my supervisor to make a statement about it. But, I’m not sure what I’m going to write and what the law says about writing a statement about something that happened months ago.  Could you please advise me about this?

Response from the Workplace Doctors: 

I can understand that you are alarmed at being contacted while you are on leave and told to come in and write a statement. An investigation is apparently being conducted and the supervisor or manager responsible for the investigation wants to find out all the facts as soon as possible. However, that does not mean you are going to be in trouble or that you are expected to remember every detail from two months ago. Just tell the truth about what you remember. Here are some of the things you may want to include:

1. When were you first told there was a problem in Production?
2. Who talked to you about a problem? (List all of the people who were there or who said anything to you.)
3. What was the problem you were told about? (Quote those who told you, as closely as possible.)
4. What did you tell them to do? (Try to remember the exact words you used when you told them to follow procedures and let the relevant person know about it.)
5. What more did you hear about the problem from the people in the Production area? (Did you ever ask them what they did about it?)

You do not need to make excuses or explain that you don’t think you did anything wrong or that you don’t think the Production Department did anything wrong either. Just write exactly what happened, as well as you can remember it.

If you have a good relationship with your supervisor you may be able to talk about the situation to him. However, you may be better off just writing the statement and continuing to be a good employee in your own area of work. Let the investigation get done so you can move forward.

Best wishes to you with this matter.

Tina Rowe
Ask the Workplace Doctors

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.