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The Importance of Conducting a Proper InvestigationPosted on by Stuart Falconer
Most people have a desire to be treated with respect and how they would like to be treated themselves. The same is true of employees. Regardless of the circumstances, all employees have a basic right to be treated fairly and with respect. Never is this more important for an employer than when dealing with a difficult situation. This could be a disciplinary issue, or a grievance, or even the management of an individual’s long term sickness absence. In each of these situations, it is possible that an employee’s employment is at risk. Therefore it is essential that a proper investigation is undertaken by an independent and impartial investigator. This ensures that all parties are treated fairly and are fully aware of the procedure before, during and after the investigation. There are guidelines for conducting an investigation which will ensure the fairness of the investigation. This includes taking notes of any interviews and ensuring the interviewee sees the minutes and agrees the content. When taking action against an employee the investigation’s findings will be used to present evidence to the decision maker and enable them to come to a conclusion. In some situations this may well be the dismissal of an employee. Employers should understand that if they’re issuing a sanction to an employee, including dismissal, then they need to be able to justify their decision making which will subsequently be based on the findings of the investigation. Failure to conduct a proper investigation is likely to cause further difficulties for the employer. It is possible that the employee would appeal against any sanction issued and if the investigation wasn’t conducted properly, then the appeal could well be successful. Therefore the sanction could be overturned and the employee not disciplined, despite whether they had committed the offence or not. This could subsequently have a negative effect on staff morale and damage the reputation of management. It could take a long time to repair and regain the trust between management and employees in the workplace.
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