Starting a workplace investigation is easy. Here’s how the investigation process goes once you’ve made the decision to engage an independent workplace investigator.
Step 1 Document and File Setup
- Send a letter of appointment outlining the matter to be investigated and detailing the Terms of Reference for the investigation. This tells the investigator exactly what you want to achieve, what they can and cannot investigate and sets out the information they are allowed to access. We can provide you with a template to help you draft the Terms of Reference.
- Send copies of any complaint material eg. letters of complaint, any file notes taken in reference to verbal complaints or any evidence you have already collected.
- Send copies of your relevant policies and procedures such as your Code of Conduct and grievance procedure.
- Appoint a primary and, if possible, a secondary liaison officer. This is the person who can help the investigator arrange interviews and can obtain documents when requested. This person is usually the HR Manager or a Senior HR Officer.
Step 2 Investigation Plan Drafted.
Once we have received all of the complaint material, the investigator will formulate an investigation plan outlining how your matter will be investigated in line with the Terms of Reference. This plan will likely change as the investigation progresses and more information comes to light.
Step 3 Inform the Relevant Parties
Those involved in the complaint must be told that you are starting a workplace investigation and an independent investigator has been appointed. At this point, it may be worth considering whether to stand down the Subject Officer (employee against whom the complaint/accusation is made). The investigator can advise you about this. The investigation can begin in earnest once relevant staff have been told.