McDonald Murholme provides essential advice to anyone facing a workplace investigation. No employee should participate in a workplace investigation without proper legal advice. That advice should insist that:
- The employee is told whether or not the workplace investigation is independent or not. Ideally, workplace investigations should be independent and an employee should insist on this. Often workplace investigations are said by the employer to be independent but are not. Independent is defined as:
- free from outside control; not subject to another’s authority
- not influenced by others; impartial
- not connected with another or with each other; separate
- capable of thinking or acting for oneself
- an independent person or body
- Workplace Investigations must be transparent. Often they are not. To be transparent, the investigator must disclose the terms of reference for the investigation.
- The wording of the allegation/charges be specific. Often the wording is vague and indecipherable.
- The allegations must not be duplicated unnecessarily. Often one allegation is expressed as multiple allegations to confuse and distress the employee under investigation.
- The employee must be given natural justice. This includes fairness, the right to be heard, and responses to listened to or taken into account. Often the employees’ responses are ignored or disregarded.
- The evidence on which the allegation(s) are made should be disclosed in an uncensored form. Often the investigator is given a distorted version of the facts or statements by others supporting the allegation.
McDonald Murholme is ready to assist any employee facing the above issues and more with fast and efficient service. Workplace Investigations are often sprung on an employee at short notice causing great distress. The employee is frozen out of the workplace, told not to contact anyone, and left in suspense for a few days. Such employees often resign due to fear of the unknown, thereby ending their employment without proper payment being made to them.
Workplace investigations often pretend to be fair by finding some allegations substantiated and others not. This gives the employee the impression that they were listened to but still allows the employer to sack or discipline the employee. The Fair Work Commission often considers evidence of the workplace investigation and the findings of the investigation, even if not independent. Such findings can have a seriously negative impact on an employees claim before the Fair Work Commission whether for unfair dismissal, or workplace bullying.