Tips to Make Sure You Get An Investigation Right

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Getting an investigation right is very important, especially if you must subsequently defend your company at an employment tribunal.

At their core, investigations are meant to help managers decide if there is some form of potential wrongdoing, and to help guide any further action that may be required. When you consider that your investigation could lead to disciplinary action, it’s especially important that the outcome – and the process you followed to get there – is seen as fair and reasonable.

With that in mind, here are a few steps to take to ensure that a fair process is followed:-
  • Plan the investigation. It is important that you stay focused on the reason for the investigation. It may sound obvious, but in the heat of an investigation it’s very easy to get drawn down a different track. Keep reminding yourself of the original purpose of the investigation.
  • Understand your own internal procedures. Employment Tribunals are able to uplift an award by 25% where you have not followed your own procedure or ACAS best practice. With that in mind, it’s crucial you’re familiar with your own internal procedures.
  • The Investigating Officer determines the extent of the investigation. This should be driven by the seriousness of the allegation, and getting the balance right is an important task of the investigating officer. In circumstances where the employee’s future career could be at risk, investigations should go as far as is necessary.
  • The findings of the investigation are vital. Any findings must be based on clear evidence to avoid any claim of unfair dismissal. The investigating officer’s role is to present the facts of the case only.
  • Be transparent. It is important to give employees all of the documentation, statements and evidence collected so that they can fully prepare for the meeting.
Overall an effective investigation will help to build confidence in employees that the company will take matters seriously and deal with them.

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