Complaints & misconduct
You may need to conduct an investigation after a complaint is received or employee misconduct uncovered. These issues can regularly develop into situations requiring disciplinary processes. Often an inquiry precedes a decision to take disciplinary action against an employee, and any such inquiry must be fair and reasonable. In these cases the purpose of investigations is to determine whether the alleged misconduct occurred, and if so, in what circumstances and to what extent. The provides their own version of events, justification or defence during the investigation and subsequent disciplinary process. Although you may not need to conduct a ‘commission of inquiry’ or have to establish any allegations beyond reasonable doubt, the employer must be able show that they investigated the allegations in a fair and adequate manner based on the evidence. Any decision must be one that would have been made by a fair and reasonable employer in all the circumstances.
Keep in mind any workplace policies you have in place that dictate how these investigations are to be managed. You should also look through any relevant employment agreements or other related policies before you begin your investigation. It is recommended you seek professional advice from the outset of a misconduct incident or complaint that may give rise to an investigation.
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