Is a workplace investigation always necessary?

29/05/2024

Not necessarily. Whether to conduct a workplace investigation depends on the specific circumstances of the situation and the policies of the organisation. In some cases, issues can be resolved informally without the need for a workplace investigation. However, there are situations where a workplace investigation is necessary to properly resolve a matter.

Here are some factors to consider when faced with this decision:

  • The severity of the allegation
    • Serious allegations of misconduct, harassment or discrimination which are denied or challenged, typically warrant an investigation to ensure that appropriate action is taken and that the rights of all parties are protected.
  • Legal and regulatory requirements
    • Some allegations, such as those related to discrimination, sexual harassment or reportable conduct, may trigger best practice or legal obligations to investigate and take appropriate action.
  • Policies and procedures
    • Many organisations have policies and procedures in place that require investigations into certain types of misconduct allegations.  Organisations should ensure they understand when they are required to undertake an investigation.
  • Risk management
    • Conducting investigations can help mitigate legal and reputational risks for the organisation by demonstrating a commitment to addressing workplace issues promptly and effectively.
  • Employee expectations
    • In some instances employees may expect their concerns to be taken seriously and addressed through a formal investigation process, particularly in cases involving serious allegations or repeated misconduct.

Ultimately, the decision to conduct a workplace investigation should be made on a case-by-case basis, considering the factors discussed above.

If your organisation requires assistance determining when to conduct a workplace investigation, contact us at enquiries@griffinlegal.com.au.

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