Workplace investigations are an important risk management tool. Employers are obliged to protect their employees against inappropriate and unlawful conduct in the workplace. Once an employer becomes aware of a complaint or an issue, they must consider all potential risks involved and assess whether workplace investigations are necessary and to what extent.
How can we help you?
Talk to us today and our experts will advise you about the following:
- Whether it is appropriate to undertake workplace investigations in relation to a specific case;
- Whether an external investigation is required;
- How to conduct workplace investigations;
- What is natural justice and procedural fairness;
- How to deal with difficult witnesses; and
- How to maintain confidentiality throughout the investigation process and investigation report.
Workplace investigations must be done properly, whilst complying with the rule of procedural fairness. Investigations should also be conducted as soon as possible and completed in a timely manner. Failure to afford procedural fairness may have serious consequences for employers and could give rise to claims for workers compensation or unfair dismissal by employees. Excuses, such as insufficient internal resources on the part of the employer, are unlikely to be accepted.
We recommend having an external investigation conducted by solicitors, especially in the following circumstances:
- Complaints or allegations of serious misconduct which may justify disciplinary action or dismissal;
- Complaints relating to sexual harassment, bullying or discrimination;
- Serious breach of workplace health and safety laws;
- Complaints involving senior level employees;
- Insufficient internal resources, including skilled investigators;
- Actual or perceived bias of internal investigators; and
- Where employers wish to rely on the protection of legal professional privilege.
In circumstances where an external investigation is required, our employment experts are prepared to conduct the workplace investigation on your behalf.
Legal professional privilege
We recommend conducting workplace investigations under the protection of legal professional privilege. If employers wish to rely on such a protection, it is crucial to brief a solicitor as soon as possible, prior to taking any actions or creating any document. Only by immediately engaging a solicitor, will any communication and correspondence created during the investigation process remain confidential.
What else can we help you with?
Contact our team today to discuss how we can best help you. Elringtons will provide you with expert legal support in all areas of employment, for further information see:
We offer an initial consultation and review of your case for a flat rate fee. Contact us for more information.