Many sensitive allegations within the workplace have potentially explosive implications for an employer, as well as the reputation of the individual against whom allegations are made.
It is vital, in these situations, that any investigation is transparently impartial, to avoid additional allegations arising from the complainant or the individual against whom allegations are made. For example, it is not uncommon in discrimination cases for investigations to lead to additional allegations that the complainant was victimised by the investigator.
Many organisations are best advised, especially if they lack the resources to provide such a review, to retain an external investigator who has no connection with either the individual or the business. These days an employment tribunal will consider the investigation of allegations carried out by an employer in great detail and it is easy to fall short of the standards they expect.
Investigations conducted independently may allow a disciplinary process to be either dispensed with if the individual is exonerated or to proceed to a disciplinary process with confidence that the reasons for doing so are soundly based and will be seen as such by any employment tribunal.
I have specialised in employment law for over 40 years and have a wealth of experience in addressing workplace issues and know what is required when undertaking investigations.
Key Points on conducting Investigations
- Act as soon as practicable.
- Use an appropriate non-conflicted investigator
- Define clearly the scope of the investigation.
- Delve into all relevant evidence.
- Record all evidence obtained from witnesses.
- Understand what is and is not privileged.