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Are your HR investigation procedures up to scratch?

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HC Online | 13 Dec 2012, 12:00 AM Agree 0
As another unfair dismissal case ends in favour of the employee, it may be time to take a closer look at your investigation procedures to ensure the integrity of due processes is being upheld.
  • Michael Cosgrove | 13 Dec 2012, 01:01 PM Agree 0
    HR should not be doing investigations. They should be done by external, neutral 3rd parties who have the experience in undertaking investigations regularly. This case highlights that conducting investigations "now and then" is not sufficient.
  • David Jefferies | 13 Dec 2012, 04:28 PM Agree 0
    I agree with Michael that HR should not be doing investigations, but I disagree that they should be done by 3rd party organisations. Provided that managers are trained on how to conduct investigations and are supported by HR practitioners why would an organisation pay for another organisation to conduct these? I agree that conducting investigations now and then leads to such poor decision making but HR professionals need to have the expertise to manage these processes internally.
  • Dale Wiese, Behaviours at Work | 14 Dec 2012, 02:18 PM Agree 0
    Further highlighting the issue of HR conducting investigations is the role that HR frequently plays in the processes that take place post investigation, including, but not limited to, disciplinary processes (even if only from an advisory standpoint). Investigations must be conducted impartially, and just as importantly, must be seen to be conducted impartially.

    HR conducting an investigation and then being involved in processes which may be unfavourable, detrimental, or adverse to any party involved in the investigation is not a good look, and will be difficult to defend if any action is subsequently brought by the person/s so affected.
  • Bernie Althofer | 17 Dec 2012, 11:16 AM Agree 0
    Public sector organisations may have 'departments' or 'units' that have responsibility for monitoring and maintaining ethical standards. Duties may also include conducting investigations into allegations involving official misconduct, misconduct and even breaches of discipline.

    This process takes investigations away from HR and whilst to some extent there is some independence, allegations may also arise that there are issues of conflicts of interest on the part of the investigator/s.

    It does seem that there are increasing expectations that HR take on an increasing workload in relation to a diverse range of workplace relations issues. It might well be the case that training managers and supervisors in relation to conducting investigations can help them address 'minor' breaches of organisational policies and procedures. The more serious allegations can be referred to external providers or to the Departmental work unit that has overall responsibility for maintaining ethical standards.
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