HR WORKPLACE INVESTIGATIONS
Disputes and misconduct can occur in any workplace. They can take the form of allegations of bullying, harassment, discrimination, fraud or unethical behaviour, all of which have serious consequences for the people involved, and the organisation as a whole. Unaddressed, the issues can continue to escalate, resulting in greater anxiety and unrest in the workplace, further problems amongst employees and unnecessary costs to the employer.
Workplace complaints are challenging to deal with – they can be complicated, emotional and very unpleasant. Using an internal HR consultant to investigate the issue can result in a perception of bias towards either the complainant or respondent, and time delays from the need to balance the investigation with existing workloads.
You need to have confidence that all the available evidence has been reviewed and considered, and that all parties have been provided procedural fairness and natural justice throughout the investigation process. Using an independent specialist with proven expertise in both HR consulting and investigations is the best way to ensure that you have access to all the information needed in order to understand and resolve the issues at play, and provide you with a sound basis for confident decision making moving forward.
You need to be sure that you’re not leaving investigations to chance.
Supporting You To Achieve Better Outcomes
Getting the best outcome from an investigation process involves far more than ‘just’ having an experienced investigator complete the assessment for you.
You need someone who takes the time to understand and apply your processes and policies, displays care and consideration for all the parties involved (and that includes you!) and will provide you with practical and useful insights into what is actually going on.
At Red Wagon, we understand people and we know business. A powerful combination when combined, we utilise these skills to complete our analysis and recommendations as to which facets to consider to make defensible decisions.
Australian employment law is complex, and it can be easy to make a misstep, resulting in non-compliance with legal and regulatory frameworks.
Understanding the ins and outs of the legislation not only ensures a robust investigation process but also forms the solid foundation of our assessment and recommendation regarding potential breaches of workplace policy and state or federal laws.
Let us help you get to the bottom of your investigation.
Red Wagon will investigate the matter efficiently, thoroughly, and tactfully. Our approach is fair and impartial; our advice is practical and straight-forward with recommendations taking into consideration the best possible outcomes for all parties and the organisation.
Key elements of our approach are:
1. Understanding The Issue
We will discuss the matter with you and review the written complaint if available. Understanding what your internal complaints and investigation processes are, your organisational culture and why you believe an investigation is the best approach is all part of our pre-investigation review.
Not all workplace issues require an investigation, and sometimes other strategies will achieve a better result. We will advise you as to whether we believe an investigation is appropriate and if so, provide a cost estimate of the entire investigation when discussing how we will proceed.
2. The Right Framework
Having an agreed scope of investigation (which allegations will be investigated) and a mutual understanding of the process, roles and framework is key to a smooth and efficient investigation process.
We will advise you as to whether we believe the investigation should be conducted under legal professional privilege, and have significant experience working with Australian law firms to investigate complaints for their clients.
3. The Investigation Process:
Our process will be tailored to your unique needs, but can include:
- Preparing notification of investigation to relevant parties on your behalf, including a statement of allegations.
- Conduct of interviews with relevant parties (complainant, respondent and witnesses).
- Preparation of formal interview statements.
- Collect relevant evidence, which may include emails, file notes, internal documents and electronic evidence.
- Ensure that parties are provided with the opportunity to review and comment on any evidence as required.
- Analyse the available evidence and draw conclusions based on the standard of proof, the balance of probability.
- Prepare an investigation report clearly setting out the allegations, our findings and any additional comments, observations and practical recommendations of the investigator. All evidence relied upon in drawing conclusions will be provided as part of the report.
4. The Support And Communication You Can Expect
We will provide support and coaching to you and your managers where needed throughout the process to ensure a consistent and unified approach to resolving the complaint.
We know that an investigation process is difficult and can be upsetting for everyone involved. We will make every effort to communicate clearly and regularly with the relevant parties so that they understand what involvement is required from them and when, their rights, the support available to them, and the progress of the investigation.
Straight Talking HR Advice On Workplace Investigations
1. Download the preparation checklist
Download our guide on the things you need to think about when deciding to run an investigation process.
3. Get results
Feel confident knowing that you and your people will be supported through the investigation, and that you will be provided with practical and clear evidence-based recommendations.
Experienced In Workplace Investigations
With over 10 years’ experience investigating a variety of employment issues, Director of Red Wagon and lead investigator, Susan Sadler, has undertaken a wide range of investigations in areas of bullying, sexual harassment and sexual assault, abuse of power in the workplace, fraud, misuse of company resources, stalking, negligence and discrimination. Susan’s strong interpersonal skills support her ability to sensitively engage with all parties and manage their concerns, while getting to the heart of the issues. She is known for her flexible approach, astute problem solving and applying a practical HR lens to observations and recommendations.
About the Author
As President and South Australian State Councillor of the Australian HR Institute (AHRI), Susan is a valued advisor and thought leader to her clients and the HR community. Maintaining an extensive understanding of employment law and business acumen through her work and connectivity to the AHRI and the business community, Susan is a master at finding innovative people orientated solutions, carefully balanced with the commercial reality.