Workplace Investigations – Tips for the New Investigator
OCM Principal Stephen Osborne, former Deputy Director of Investigations at the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), recently presented ‘Workplace Investigations – Tips for the New Investigator’ at an Annual Practitioner Professional Development Day attended by about 40 members of the Industrial Relations Society of NSW (IRNSW) at international law firm K & L Gates.
The IRNSW is a professional association founded in 1958 and has over 150 members including academics, state and federal government HR and IR practitioners, union officials, students, lawyers, advocates, consultants and tribunal members; any of whom could be called upon to undertake an internal disciplinary investigation in their workplace.
During the presentation, Stephen spoke to the principles of the investigation planning; gathering and managing evidence; and procedural fairness. The guiding premise of each stage is outlined below:
The Investigation Plan
- What policy/procedural breaches may have occurred?
- What facts need to be established?
- What evidence am I looking for?
- What powers/authority do I have to gather evidence?
- What are the risks to the investigation?
- Scope and Purpose
- What evidence is required to establish the truth?
- How will the evidence be gathered?
- How will risks to the investigation be managed?
- What resources are required to complete the investigation?
- Reporting progress during the investigation
Gathering and Managing Evidence
- Handling documentary evidence
- Authenticating documents
- Desktop computers/laptop computers/phones
- Surveillance in the workplace
- Covert video
- Overt video
- Covert email/internet
- Overt email/internet
- Continuity/chain of evidence and safe storage
- Searching offices, cupboards, lockers, briefcases, etc.
- Evidence from witnesses (statement or interview)
- Secure storage of records created during investigation
- Be and show you are truly objective (no bias, closed-mindedness)
- Affected person/witnesses/staff will have more confidence in outcome
- Strive to obtain the best information and evidence possible from more reliable sources
- When should the affected person be notified and how?
- How much information should the affected person be given?
- Give equal consideration and treatment to information supplied by the affected person
- Afford the affected person the opportunity to respond to allegations at interview
- Minimum 24 hours notice of proposed interview
- Provide details of allegations to be canvassed at interview
- Allowed an observer at interview
- Provide an interpreter if required
- Complete the investigation within a reasonable time frame
For further information on this presentation or for a full scope of presentable ideas from OCM please contact us on 1300 882 633 or email firstname.lastname@example.org