Case Management Severity Criteria

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    Autumn Sanelli

    Severity is an interesting topic, while it can be super helpful with reporting and analytics, many attorneys feel that it creates unnecessary liability. The important thing to keep in mind if that if you are going to use severity, it must be objectively applied. You should establish a matrix that clearly outlines what criteria would place something in a high vs medium severity. Such criteria might include type of offense, level/role of the employees who are involved, previous history of the accused employee, etc. And don't forget, if you make an exception to the objective criteria, which is okay, be sure to clearly document why.

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    Harriett Lee

    Please find some definitions and guidance on severity for issues below. Without knowing your internal process, protocol, and types of cases you receive it will vary. We have some customers who use it to dictate SLAs of case closure, others use it to dictate the highest rank of the person accused and still others that just correlate it to issue type.
    Hope this is helpful.

    Severity will generally be tailored to meet the investigation process and written protocol the company has in force. However, a general rule of thumb could be:

    • Low: Allegations that are less serious than Medium, High and Critical allegations and require attention within a reasonable amount of time. It involves issues that are not on-going or time-sensitive. Low Severity case examples could include violations of the Smoking Policy, minor misuses of Company assets, violations of the Dress Code, etc.    
    • Medium: Serious allegations that require prompt, albeit not immediate, attention. Examples of Medium Severity allegations could include conflict of interest, fraud, and misuse of resources. It could also include drug abuse, safety issues, or theft, as long as they are not occurring at the time of the report.   
    • High: Allegations that require immediate attention. A High Severity case involves a serious or time-sensitive issue that does not rise to the level of emergency. Examples of High Severity could include reports with serious ramifications, such as a threat to brand and reputation, implication of a senior executive or c-suite member, or violations of law. 
    • Critical: Allegations that require immediate attention. Matters would involve an emergency or urgent situation that requires immediate action due to a potential for imminent threat to person, property or the environment.  Examples could include theft in progress, threats of physical harm, weapons on Company property, etc. Immediate action must be taken to mitigate the threat or harm to person, property or the environment. 
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