Whenever an employer is made aware of possible misconduct they have to act. A workplace investigation may keep you and your company out of court.
Knowing when to perform and when not to perform an investigation is vital. If an investigation is needed, knowing how to perform the investigation properly is crucial. This is especially important in cases of harassment and discrimination.
The purpose of a workplace investigation is to make findings of fact. These facts can then be used as the basis for further action or as the basis of legal advice. The report resulting from a workplace investigation may become evidence later in litigation.
Any workplace investigation must be both effective and thorough. This applies even if the complaint is informal. If you wait until it has become formal you may be causing yourself, your company and your employee’s problems you do not need. As such any investigation must be carried out to the highest of standards.
Workplace investigations must be both fair and objective. Investigations carried out hastily or with a bias, may become liabilities in and of themselves. If you fail to properly investigate a complaint you may become liable. A badly preformed investigation may become evidence used against you of how you neglected your employees.
In order to ensure an investigation in the workplace is effective, thorough, fair and objective someone outside the organisation may be needed to perform the investigation. This external investigator will be perceived as more neutral and as such will have a better chance of getting cooperation from both sides.
Bill Holohan, Senior Solicitor at Holohan Law is an accredited workplace investigator. If you need advice as to whether you need to carry out a workplace investigation or you need a workplace investigation carried out, contact us.