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The do's and don'ts of workplace investigations

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HC Online | 24 Jun 2010, 12:00 AM Agree 0
HR practitioners and line managers are more regularly being called upon to conduct investigations into complaints by staff members that relate to inappropriate workplace behaviours. John Boardman provides several expert tips on how to handle workplace investigrations
  • Bernie Althofer | 24 Jun 2010, 03:58 PM Agree 0
    I concur with the points raised by John. Unfortunately for some, workplace bullying/harassment investigations only happen sometime after the organisation realises the magnitude of the problem, or sometime after the incident has occurred and the victim decides to report it. Sometimes, an investigation is conducted and the investigator writes it off saying 'there is nothing in it'. Some victims do not take no for an answer, and pursue the matter until finally their workplace injury claim is supported showing that the investigation is flawed. Allegations into any form of harassment/bully should be investigated immediately, and if possible, someone independent should conduct the investigation. In some organisations, there may be perceptions of bias and conflict if internal investigators are used. If this is likely, I would suggest an external investigator be engaged. Investigators should also understand that a well schooled victim will have considerable information to support their allegation. Putting a time or money limit on the investigators time could be another potential risk in that the investigator may not be able to cover every aspect in a short space of time. Bullying and harassment are complex issues and the investigator should at least have some understanding of the issues involved.
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