An Independent HR Team is needed for Workplace Investigations

Jan 15, 2021

Would you rather your workplace investigation highlighted all the important aspects of your situation, warts and all, or find them out in an Employment Tribunal hearing room?

There are investigators who will draw the conclusions clients want them to, but that’s not what you need. It is much more useful to know what really happened and to know the reality of the situation. Then you have everything you need to make the right decision about what to do. It should mean you’re much less likely to appear in an Employment Tribunal let alone lose your case.

Shakespeare Resourcing  conducts complex, challenging and sensitive workplace investigations often in respect of senior executives and Board members, into grievances and allegations of misconduct as well as wider investigations into complaints, business problems and crises.

Examples of workplace investigations

  • sexual misconduct, sexual harassment and obscene imagery of sexual violence,
  • exposing the organisation to multimillion pound risk and reputational damage,
  • risking the loss of major contract representing 25% of business unit income,
  • bullying and harassment, including at Board/CEO level,
  • practising witchcraft in the workplace and putting curses on colleagues,
  • running a business from employer’s premises,
  • misconduct flowing from mental health issues and addictions,
  • unauthorised leaks to the press,
  • bringing the employer into disrepute,
  • covert recordings of Board/CEO meetings,
  • whistle-blowing, unfair grievance proceedings, breach of trust and confidence.

Our extensive experience gives us the edge in being able to envisage the arguments that may be put before a hearing and make an impartial and robust appraisal of evidence.  Such an honest appraisal provides an organisation with an informed assessment of the situation on which to base a more accurate and secure strategy of what to do next.

Independence also minimises the risk of cognitive bias such as confirmation bias which may blind the investigator to crucial evidence risking an unsound conclusion.  Organisations can bet that these will surely come out at a hearing or trial if not properly developed during the investigation by which time it may be too late to adopt different less costly strategies.

In relation to employment linked investigations, an employer’s protection between an employee’s disciplinary process and an unsuccessfully defended claim before an Employment Tribunal is having a fair investigation, disciplinary and if relevant appeal hearing. Similarly grievances made by employees that have not been properly investigated store up future problems for disgruntled employees or tribunal claims.

Investigations and disciplinary hearings – heard by someone independent from the organisation or for senior roles, and completely independent from the senior executive help to ensure the employee receives a fair hearing.

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