Workplace Investigations – How do you carry out investigations in the workplace?

There are essential decisions and actions that you must undertake when conducting an investigation in your business. Are you following guidelines and conducting any necessary workplace investigation properly? Take a look at our guide.

What is an investigation?

Acas describes an investigation as “a fact-finding exercise to collect all the relevant information on a matter”.

Dealing with problems in the workplace may require an investigation to ensure that you, or your management team, have fully considered the matter and are aware of all the facts before a decision is made.

When do you need an investigation?

If you cannot resolve an incident informally, then an investigation may be necessary to provide support and evidence for a formal action. This could include allegations of bullying, concerns over company policies or procedures, or receiving a grievance from an employee.

For example, if you think there are grounds to dismiss an employee, you must be able to prove that misconduct has occurred and that there has been a reasonable investigation into the matter. Not doing so can leave you at risk to claims of unfair dismissal.

What does an investigation entail?

An investigation obviously needs an investigator, who should be fair, objective and, wherever possible, not personally involved in the issue. This investigator needs clear guidance on what they are required to investigate before they gather and document the related issues and evidence.

The reporting of their findings and what is required of them should also be made clear. As a rule, investigators should not be involved in any subsequent decision-making.

Acas states the role of the investigator should include:

  • considering what the issues of the matter under investigation are,
  • planning how the investigation will be conducted,
  • deciding in what order evidence will be collected,
  • collecting all relevant evidence and consider what the evidence shows,
  • reporting their findings.

Once the evidence has been collated and presented, your management team should be able to make a fair and reasonable decision, supported by evidence, about an issue.

If you would like more help and guidance about workplace investigations or any HR matters, contact HR That Helps Today.



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