Assisting employers with investigating workplace complaints
Some workplace complaints require an independent investigator. We can undertake investigations into sensitive and serious matters, including workplace bullying, harassment or discrimination.
We run efficient investigation processes that are sensitive, legally comprehensive and time efficient. We are known to be extremely cost-effective by comparison to our key competitors providing this service.
The Employment Relations Act 2000 has regard to the resources available to the employer. The bigger and better resourced an employer is, the more comprehensive the investigative process needs to be.
The standard required of an investigation is that it is sufficient. It does not need to be pedantic, but it must hit minimum standards of quality that we are very familiar with. In general, the following should occur:
- Good terms of reference should be set by the employer to guide the investigation.
- The process should be outlined by the investigator to both the complainant and the employee accused of wrongdoing.
- The person being investigated should have access to all the relevant information.
- All relevant witnesses should be spoken to. It is best practice to allow support people to attend formal meetings.
- Good records need to be kept of all interviews. We recommend recording interviews where there is consent. At the very least, a witness should sign off their statement as correct.
- All notes should be retained as they can be requested.
- The employee accused of wrongdoing should be able to suggest any witnesses who should be spoken to.
- A report of findings should be prepared for a decision maker.
- The employee accused of wrongdoing should have an ability to comment on the investigation findings and an ability to meet and discuss matters with the decision maker.
Good interview techniques should be used, and it is important that scrutiny for leading witnesses to particular conclusions is avoided. Good open questions should be utilised. An employee who is accused of wrongdoing should be challenged on contradictions but should never be bullied.
We have frequently conducted such investigations for school boards in respect of leadership when there have been external complaints. We have also conducted investigations for a variety of businesses and charity organisations.
Please call to discuss if you believe you need a workplace investigation conducted.