Workplace Investigations

April 23rd, 2019 by James Goudie KC

Investigations into workplace conduct are increasingly frequent, in the private and public employment sectors. The investigations are often complex. They may be scrutinised by a Court or a Tribunal. A robust and reliable professional process fair to all concerned is required.

A new Australian book, “Workplace Investigations: Principles and Practice”, edited by Paula Hoctor and Michael Robertson, sets out fundamental principles and acceptable practice, by reference to Australian statutes and case law, but with wider applicability and value for investigators and those who engage with them. Detailed consideration is given to all the main stages of an unbiased workplace investigation, from the initial decision whether an investigation is warranted, and if so what type of investigation, or some other process may be more appropriate, through to report writing and submission, via planning and managing the investigation, drafting the allegations, meeting procedural fairness requirements, understanding and dealing with “evidence”, including expert evidence, and conducting interviews. Ethical, cultural, and legal issues are dealt with, including legal professional privilege and confidentiality. There are chapters on investigations into allegations of bullying, sexual harassment investigations, disability discrimination investigations, investigations into allegations of criminal conduct, investigations involving allegations of corruption, and public interest disclosure and whistleblowing investigations.

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