What happens during an employee investigation?

One of the challenges that most business leaders face is the successful resolution of a workplace compliant.  An investigation has 2 purposes:

  • To determine whether the alleged incident occurred
  • To identify and take action regarding any mitigating circumstances

Any employee investigation is serious and this must be matched by the employer's response.

Information collection

As soon as an incident comes to light, employers should start to collect all the relevant information needed to form the basis of their investigation.  Information could come from complainants themselves, respondents, witnesses or other interested parties such as workforce union representatives.

Depending on the nature of the incident, it may be appropriate to stand down individuals from their role to ensure the investigation can be completed ethically and without bias.

It is important to base questions on the allegations at hand and ensure your thoughts do not cloud your judgement.  This is vital if you work closely with those involved in the case.

This is arguably the first pressure point for employers in an investigation and where it can help to have an expert HR Consultant to advise the next step.

Making a decision

Employee disputes must have a conclusion.Employee disputes must have a conclusion.

Once every relevant party has been interviewed, it comes to decision time. When considering the outcome of an investigation, there are a number of elements to take into account. These include:

  • The credibility of each party
  • The evidence in play
  • The impact of the incident
  • The impact on the organisation
  • The wishes of the complainant

Of course, regardless of your decision, there could be one party who is unhappy with the outcome. As such, the findings need to be communicated clearly and any appeals heard, as appropriate. 

If the decision, doesn't allow a clear conclusion, it is still crucial to not leave any matters unaddressed.  Employers owe a decision to not only those involved in the contract but also often to other employees where the issue may impact them.  Often unresolved issues can snowball into wider problems – highlighting the value of a thorough and productive investigation.

Do you have more questions about how an investigation should run? Contact the team at Flexi Personnel today.