A workplace investigation is an independent inquiry into allegations about an employee’s conduct or behaviour. These allegations can take many forms including:
- Misconduct generally
- Breach of policy and/or procedures, such as bullying/harassment, resource use, social media policy, discrimination, conflict of interests, improper associations, spending and financial delegation policy, code of conduct and behaviour
- Fraud and appropriation (including misuse of resources, credit cards, cash)
- Stealing and similar behaviour, including other criminal offences
- Business intelligence breaches
An independent workplace investigation is usually required in the following circumstances:
- if the matter is serious and – if substantiated – is likely to result in serious disciplinary action (like sacking, transfer or demotion)
- if beyond the skillset of existing managers
- to demonstrate objectivity and to eliminate the existence of (of even perception of) bias
- to ensure transparency and objectivity
- to show staff that matters are treated as serious and deserve specialist attention
Not all breaches within an organisation require external investigators to be engaged. At Forensix, we’ll guide you and provide advice on the process and your specific needs. Through our workplace training division, we can also train your supervisors and managers on conducting an investigation.
Workplace investigations require the use of the standard of proof called the balance of probabilities as distinguished from the standard applied in criminal cases, being beyond reasonable doubt. The term balance of probabilities is frequently interchanged with the words more likely than not.
Matters relating to employment are determined on the balance of probabilities and the more serious the potential consequences, the more robust the evidence needs to be.