Two of New York City’s major cultural institutions have hired outside law firms to conduct internal investigations after sexual-harassment allegations were lodged against powerful figures at their organizations.
For institutions such as the Metropolitan Opera and the New York City Ballet, hiring these
investigators bolsters public accountability, protects an institution’s reputation and
evaluates whether laws were broken or board duties breached, legal experts say.
When conducting internal investigations, lawyers don’t have legal tools such as subpoenas behind them, so they can’t force people’s participation. Employers, however, typically will mandate that workers cooperate with an investigation, said Craig Bonnist, an attorney at McCarter & English who specializes in employment law.