Bullying

Melbourne Workplace Bullying Investigations

Jolasers Investigations Have Over 16 Years Experience Conducting Complex Workplace Bullying Investigations in Melbourne.

Many companies assign their HR representative to lead a Melbourne workplace bullying investigation. This works occasionally but is generally regarded as a poor strategy.

A HR investigation of workplace bullying is the best example of why third parties are needed. To be successful, an investigation must be independent and impartial, with no connections to either party.

Because the external investigator is coming in without any previous involvement, and initially are not as familiar with the situation as employees, and can ask follow-up queries that might otherwise be missed.

An external investigator is the best way to ensure that this occurs. A qualified investigator can ask tough questions with minimum negative reactions, thus getting the whole story.


Call 0418 101 164 to discuss your workplace investigation situation.

Melbourne Bullying Investigations

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Workplace Bullying Investigations – Melbourne.

Let’s face it: Workplace bullying investigations aren’t fun. No one likes to think of their organization as one that might have a problem with inappropriate conduct or hostile work environment. And, in most cases, workplaces aren’t like that. However, if you work in HR or another department that handles employee relations on a regular basis, you know that these things can happen. These types of problems are more common than you think, and they have the potential to create significant risk for your company — legally and reputationally. That’s why it’s so important to have processes in place to handle workplace investigations when they arise. Read on for our expert advice on how to conduct an effective workplace investigation and mitigate risks from misconduct or a hostile working environment.


What is a workplace investigation?

A workplace investigation is a thorough fact-finding process used to determine if and how misconduct occurred within the workplace. The investigation may cover a wide range of issues, including sexual harassment and hostile work environment, discrimination, theft, fraud, or misuse of company resources. In many cases, employers are obligated to initiate workplace investigations when certain allegations are brought to the attention of management. Employers may also choose to investigate a particular incident even when there is no obligation to do so.


Why is conducting an effective workplace investigation so important?

Investigations are crucial when there has been a complaint or allegation of improper conduct at work. They can help determine the facts of the situation, identify potential liability issues, and protect both the organization and the individuals involved. In an ideal world, no one would have to go through this process — but the reality is that workplaces are imperfect environments and issues will arise. When they do, you need to have a process in place to investigate and address them in a timely and thorough way. When you investigate issues promptly, you can minimize the risk that they become bigger problems down the road. This can help protect your organization’s reputation and legal standing, and ensure that people feel safe on the job.


Create a culture of transparency during the investigation

There will likely be an inherent level of discomfort among employees during an investigation, as people may feel nervous about what’s about to happen. This is normal and expected — but it is also important to help people understand that the investigation is an open process. You should let employees know exactly what will happen as the investigation progresses. This includes who will participate and how, where the investigation will take place, what the process will look like, how long it will take, and how the results will be communicated. Let your team members know that they can ask questions at any time, and that they should feel free to speak up if they have concerns or think they have information that will be useful. This will help create a transparent atmosphere that will help people feel more comfortable and supported through the process.


Develop a process to handle investigations quickly and efficiently

How you handle investigations will go a long way toward determining how effective they are. You should have a process that you follow in every workplace investigation, regardless of the issue being examined. This will help you make sure every investigation is thorough and consistent. It also ensures that everyone involved is treated fairly, and that people are given the opportunity to provide their perspective. This includes having a clear starting point for each investigation — such as the findings of a complaint or the results of a risk assessment — and clearly defining the objectives you want to achieve. Let your employees know what the process will look like, and encourage them to be a part of it. This will help make the investigation more efficient and build trust within your team. It will also help to protect your organization from any potential lawsuits related to the investigation.


Hold disciplinary meetings based on your findings

Even if you find no evidence of wrongdoing, you should still conduct an investigation. This can help clear your employees’ names and show that you take their concerns seriously. What happens next will depend on the results of the investigation. If you find that misconduct occurred, you will need to decide what disciplinary action to take. Most employers have a disciplinary policy that specifies the types of problems that can result in termination, as well as the process for determining disciplinary action. You should follow this process carefully, as it could help to protect your organization if someone decides to challenge the disciplinary decision in court.


Conclusion

When it comes to workplace investigations, you need to be thorough and efficient. To do this, you need a process that includes having a clear starting point for each investigation and clearly defining the objectives you want to achieve. Leaders should also let their employees know what the process will look like, and encourage them to be a part of it. You also need to create a culture of transparency during the investigation, and develop a process to handle investigations quickly and efficiently. When workplace investigations are done well, they can help protect your company from significant legal and reputational risks. They can also help build a culture of transparency, trust, and open communication among employees — which is always a good thing.


Jolasers have a long history of providing professional workplace bullying investigations. You may wish to consider engaging us to conduct an investigation into any workplace investigations that you have.

 

Frequently Asked Questions.

An investigation can be a stressful time for both employee and employer. Employees might have concerns about their performance, feel like they’re being unfairly scrutinized, or worry about the potential implications of the investigation on their career trajectory. For employers, investigations are often taxing and time-consuming processes that demand confidentiality and sensitive handling. In order to help tackle the challenges of workplace investigations more efficiently, we’ve prepared this FAQ guide with answers to some of the most common questions employers may have when initiating an investigation in the workplace.

 

What is a workplace investigation?

Business investigations are designed to seek out facts, identify problems, and find solutions that have be triggered by a specific event or complaint such as a bullying allegation or sexual harassment allegation. They often follow a set process that allows all parties to be treated fairly and ensures that organizational policies are followed.

 

Why is an investigation necessary?

While it’s possible to address issues informally, an investigation often provides more structure and ensures that all employees’ concerns are addressed fairly. It also provides the foundation for any disciplinary action that results from the allegations.

Companies engage external investigators to eliminate any perceived bias or favouritism towards one or more of the participants in the investigation.

 

How long does a workplace investigation typically take?

While there is no hard and fast rule for how long investigations should last, the duration of most investigations falls between two and four weeks. Investigations that are prompted by a specific event, such as an employee’s allegation of bullying or harassment, will likely be shorter, due to the desire of all parties to finalise the mater. Investigations that explore multiple issues and problems that have been festering for a long period are likely to last longer. Investigations that include a wide range of employees may be longer still if Investigators aim to include all employees’ input in the process.

 

Who can participate in the investigation?

An Investigator will seek to interview all persons that are involved in the subject of the investigation which may include witnesses to a particular event. Generally the more relevant people interviewed, the more detailed the final report will be.

All persons interviewed in an investigation are entitled to have a support person with them to provide moral support as the circumstances discussed can often be difficult for the person being interviewed to re-live.

 

What are the different types of workplace investigations?

Investigations are often broken up into four major categories – bullying, harassment, sexual harassment and misconduct. They all follow the same basic structure. The person/s who have made the allegations against a work colleague/s will be interviewed first to determine the exact nature of the allegations. Then any witnesses identified will be interviewed and then finally the person/s who the allegations were made against will have the opportunity to respond to the allegations. From there the Investigator will prepare his findings and present to the appropriate person in the company.

 

Can employees be required to participate in investigations?

Employees can be required to participate in investigations if their participation is directly related to the issues being investigated. Employees may be required to produce relevant documentation, provide a written statement, or be interviewed by the investigator. When deciding if employees should be required to participate, employers should consider the nature of the investigation and the expected value of employees’ input.

 

Are there any requirements for informing employees about investigations?

Employers should inform employees whenever they become aware of an issue that necessitates an investigation. Informing employees provides transparency, helps build trust and confidence in the organization, and may reduce the chances of retaliation against the employees who are being investigated. Employers may be able to avoid the need for an investigation by promptly addressing employee concerns. In many cases, employers can address issues informally by talking directly with employees to seek clarification and explore potential solutions.

 

Should employers comply with employee requests during an investigation?

Employers are generally expected to comply with reasonable requests from employees during an investigation, as long as those requests do not interfere with the investigation. For example some employees are uncomfortable being interviewed in the general vicinity of their work colleagues and will request the interview take place offsite or somewhere private that other employees are not aware of their participation.

Employers should be careful not to give the impression that they are providing special treatment to certain employees. If employers feel that a request from an employee would interfere with an investigation, they should explain why and consider providing an alternative solution.

 

Can disciplinary action be taken as a result of an investigation?

Employers may take disciplinary action against employees as a result of an investigation, but they must first ensure that the investigation is thorough and complete. Disciplinary actions are separate from an investigation and should be undertaken after the investigation concludes. Disciplinary actions can vary from a minor formal warning letter being placed on an employees personnel file to really serious disciplinary action such as termination or a referral of matters to police. 

 

 
 
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Telephone: 0418 101 164 (Stephen Oliver)
Email: stephen.oliver@jolasers.com.au