What Are The Workplace Investigation Process Steps In Australia?

October 27, 2022    Employment Lawyers
What Are The Workplace Investigation Process Steps In Australia?

Workplace investigations play a great role in resolving any kind of problems or disputes at work. If a workplace investigation is conducted properly, it can help protect the interests of the organization by identifying disputes and providing help in supporting the employees.


But if a workplace investigation is not carried out properly, it can create long-term risks that can harm the reputation. Some people also hire workplace investigation lawyers before conducting a workplace investigation. In this guide, you will learn about Australia’s workplace investigation process steps.



What Is A Workplace Investigation?


A workplace investigation is a fact-finding exercise that collects all evidence and information related to any bad behavior or incident. Making decisions in the workplace without completing a proper investigation may lead to decisions or actions that might be unlawful or unfair. This can risk legal action being taken against the organization.



Why Should You Follow A Fair Procedure?


An employer needs to ensure that they follow a proper and fair procedure involved in any disciplinary investigation. Any decision must follow a reasonable and proper investigation, and if there is none, the case can be unfair and may lead to legal action.


Though companies can follow their own workplace investigation process, there are some minimum requirements that these companies need to meet. The requirements are under the ACAS’s Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures. This can help make the process seem fair and lawful, and there will be no problems.


Workplace Investigation Process Steps


Before hiring employment lawyers, you need to learn about the workplace investigation process steps:

1. Pre-Investigation

Before you begin the workplace investigation process, you need to be certain that it is an important course of action. You must ensure that all your informal resolution methods are exhausted, and based on the circumstances, there are issues that can be resolved fast without intervention.


If a workplace investigation needs to be carried out in your company, you need to act fast, as any delay might lead to the perception of unfairness. But if an informal resolution can help solve the matter, it needs to be considered.


What Will Be Investigated?

As an employer, you need to decide, at the outset of the workplace investigation process, the purpose and scope of the investigation. You also need to decide the role and responsibilities of the investigator and the things that they will examine.


Nominating The Investigator

An investigator has to be appointed to lead the investigation process, and though the individual may be from your company, it is important that they are not involved with any of the investigations being investigated.


You must ensure that the investigator acts fairly and objectively to establish facts and allow you to come to a proper conclusion. This can easily be achieved by collecting proof supporting the allegation and proof that refutes it.


2. Preparing For The Investigation

The investigator needs to start by drawing up the investigation plan with proper details. The details need to include the sources of evidence to collect, the witness list, and the examined evidence. They also need to be aware of the workplace policies or processes to be followed, whether recommendations will be given, and many more.


Informing The Employee

Unless there are risks that the investigated employees may come in contact with the witnesses or evidence, the investigator needs to inform them when they begin the investigation. The employer needs to explain the reasons for the needed investigation and which individual will carry out the process.


Suspending An Employee In A Disciplinary Case

Before you know about the workplace investigation’s employee rights, you must know about this. Suspending someone only needs to be considered if required to protect the investigation, the employees or an employee under investigation.


Suspension should never be used as a disciplinary measure while an investigation is underway. If a suspension is considered while an investigation is underway, the employee must be made aware that the action is not disciplinary.


3. Holding Investigation Meetings

In any kind of disciplinary or grievance investigation, the investigator might also have to acquire information from witnesses, employees, and other witnesses that might involve clients and customers during the relevant meeting.


4. Dealing With The Witnesses

People may need to be investigated or interviewed for a more formal witness statement. If more people witness the same incident and the accounts are the same, the investigator might need to interview the other witnesses unless they need more clarification or more information on the matter.


After the investigator has identified the witnesses, they need to ask them to write everything that is on their minds. The investigator also needs to meet with potential witnesses to ask about allegations and take notes.


5. Reporting The Findings Of The Investigation

Before hiring top workplace investigation lawyers, you need to learn about this step. It is important for an investigation to include facts that were or were not established and if any other factors need consideration. Though an investigator can seek advice from HR or other third parties, they must reach a conclusion on their own.


In any event, the investigation report needs to be written objectively, and nicknames and jargon need to be avoided. Only the facts must be reported that need to include all the proof that was collected earlier.


6. Concluding The Investigation

After the investigator has submitted the report, they are not going to be involved in any further action. They may only discuss the report with the employer or attend a hearing to explain the findings. It will be the decision maker, not the investigator, who will take action based on the investigation.


Only the decision maker will decide if any disciplinary hearing is needed. If their decision is not the same as the recommendations provided in the investigation report, the reasons must be recorded in writing and also attached to the report as an addendum.


Contact Employment Lawyers Perth WA

If you need to undergo a workplace investigation for your company, you may need the help of top workplace investigation lawyers. Contact Employment Lawyer Perth to access top workplace investigation lawyers to help you in the process.

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