Getting workplace investigations right

HR professionals regularly conduct investigations on a broad range of issues including discrimination/harassment/bullying complaints, general grievances and employee misconduct. The same principles and approach can be applied to all workplace investigations. This GuideME workshop will cover the legal principles and provide practical guidance as to how to get the process right. Participants in this workshop will work through the lifecycle of an investigation.

Individual discounts: attend more than 2 workshops in a 12-month period and receive a 10% discount on your third workshop.
Group discounts: 5 places for the price of 4, or 10 places for the price of 7.


Decision to investigate

  • Evaluating complaints: when to investigate, when not to
  • What if the complaint is anonymous?
  • Alternatives to formal investigation

Establishing the investigation

  • Who should be the decision maker?
  • Getting the terms of reference right
  • Selecting and briefing the investigator

The investigation process

  • Managing the investigation
  • Interviewing witnesses – asking the right questions
  • Balancing confidentiality with natural justice
  • Document creation and document control
  • Managing expectations

Finalising the investigation

  • How to deal with conflicting evidence
  • Writing good reports
  • Communicating decisions

Implementing outcomes

  • Decision maker’s checklist
  • Use of investigations report – disciplinary procedures
  • Communication of outcomes

Particular issues

  • Requests by witnesses to have support person or legal representation: what rights do witnesses have?
  • Requests to tape record interviews
  • Reluctant or anxious complainants: how to protect them and still ensure fairness
  • Criminal offences: what rights do suspects have?
  • Should you tell the police and can you proceed if they are involved?
  • EEO complaints: what if there is an external complaint as well?

Legal principles

  • Natural justice – in the investigation and in future disciplinary processes
  • Policy and industrial instrument compliance
  • Limitations on surveillance activity – emails, computer records, phone records and video surveillance?
  • Legal professional privilege: when is it relevant, how to get it and how to maintain it
  • Confidentiality
  • When does the Privacy Act apply?
  • Defamation
  • Public sector investigations: legislative obligations and whistleblower protection
  • Potential legal claims – vicarious liability

Register for a workshop