All employers from time to time need to conduct investigations. This is most commonly in relation to a grievance or disciplinary matter. However, there are other instances when investigations will be necessary, for example when protected disclosures are made or when dealing with absences.
Key features of any fair investigation are that it:
- progresses in a timely manner;
- is thorough; and
- balances the need to gather information whilst maintaining trust and confidence.
Failure to meet these standards can have serious consequences. Any dismissal may be found to be unfair and dealing inadequately with a grievance can amount to a breach of contract. Conversely, dealing with investigations comprehensively may avoid claims being made altogether and even if this is not the case make any claims easier to defend successfully.
We can assist with anything from a straightforward misconduct matter to complex financial services issues. We pride ourselves that our advice, whatever the situation, is clear, concise and relevant.
Key issues include:
- Advising if suspension is appropriate;
- Deciding who is best suited to conduct the investigation;
- Analysing the issues and planning the investigation;
- Advising on specialist resources such as forensic accounting;
- Providing guidance on obtaining medical reports;
- Suggesting how to deal with reluctant witnesses;
- Explaining issues surrounding accessing emails, telephone records and social media;
- Discussing the possible use of covert surveillance