Conducting Workplace Investigations

No employer ever wants to conduct a workplace investigation. However, sometimes difficult matters arise that require a formal inquiry. When this happens, it is important to ensure that the process is conducted fairly and impartially. Protecting employee rights is of the utmost importance, and must be taken into consideration throughout the entire process. In this article, we will discuss the key points that employers must consider when conducting workplace investigations.
workplace investigations

Do I need a Workplace Investigation?

Workplace investigations are required when concerns have been raised about the performance or conduct of an employee. Some concerns that would require an investigation could include decreased performance, or accusations of bullying, harassment, or discrimination. 

Another reason a workplace investigation would be required could include concerns over apparent Occupational Health and Safety breaches. If your business is dealing with any of these issues then a workplace investigation should be conducted. This ensures the matter is resolved in a fair, impartial way.

Why would I need a Workplace Investigation?

By having trained professionals investigate a matter, businesses are working towards a better understanding of the situation and upholding employee rights. The investigation process should be conducted in a manner that meets all legal requirements, while still protecting the best interests of staff and management. 

A workplace investigation helps to determine the truth of a situation, aiding in resolving difficult matters in a timely manner. They help managers identify problems that need resolving, as well as how best to proceed with corrective action when necessary.

There is a process that must be followed when conducting workplace investigations, to ensure they are conducted appropriately. Initially, you must plan the investigation. This involves addressing matters such as:

Once you have adequately prepared for conducting a workplace investigation you should then move on to the next step.

Appointing an Investigation Team

Depending on the severity of the issue, workplace investigations can be conducted either internally or externally. As a general rule, internal investigations will be conducted when the issue primarily concerns inter-office disputes. External investigations usually occur in more serious situations, such as when customers are directly impacted by staff conduct. 

An internal workplace investigation should be conducted by either the Human Resources department, or members of management. To ensure impartiality, they should not have a close relationship with the employee under investigation.

An external investigation is outsourced to specialist consultants who are trained in the complexities of conducting comprehensive workplace investigations. They can help an organisation ensure the investigation is conducted in accordance with the Fair Work Act 2009.

workplace workplace investigations

Interviewing Parties and Developing a Report

The next step involves the investigation team interviewing pertinent parties, and collecting statements. A team should conduct in-depth interviews with all relevant parties, at separate times, and collect statements and evidence from them. 

They can then work at determining whether any misconduct occurred and why. They will then need to develop procedures to minimise the chances of recurrence.

Following this, an investigation report will then be developed, which outlines the result of the investigation. It will state whether the alleged behaviour was determined to have occurred or not. If it’s determined to have occurred, the report will state what actions were taken, and what actions employees must take.

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Workplace Wizards can help with this Process

It is absolutely crucial that companies conduct workplace investigations in line with the Fair Work Act 2009. Failure to do so exposes a business to liability, and can make employees feel unfairly treated. Businesses must also adopt a comprehensive approach to workplace investigations, which addresses difficult matters fairly. 

The team at Workplace Wizards are experts at helping businesses develop clear processes for conducting workplace investigations. We can review existing investigation protocols to determine if they are meeting the business’s legal requirements. We can also help develop a thorough workplace investigation process, which considers the best interests of staff and management.

To find out more about how we can help your business, please call us today on (03) 9087 6949 or email at We would be happy to discuss the workplace investigations process with you, and help your business realise its goals.

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