Top tips for investigations
In order to avoid a finding of unfair dismissal (should a problem with one of your staff ever get that far), a tribunal will place heavy weight on the investigation to determine whether the employer’s actions were reasonable. Here are some top tips to get you on the right track. When should I do an investigation? As soon as possible after matters come to light. By delaying investigating the matters with those involved you allow time for facts to be forgotten and for stories to be fabricated. Therefore ensure a thorough investigation is conducted promptly in order for all evidence gathered to be factually and valid. Always take minutes or any investigatory meetings held and request the employee to sign a copy of this at the time to agree these are an accurate record. Will I always be permitted to conduct an investigation process immediately? In certain serious circumstances external bodies may become involved in the matters of concern e.g. the police, safeguarding, social services etc. In these circumstances internal investigations may be requested to be halted, whilst external investigations are conducted. These cases can prove costly (especially when an employee is suspended from duties), and therefore it is ideal to:
- conduct as much investigation as possible prior to being requested to stop; and
- ensure you chase the relevant bodies to finish any external investigations as soon as possible, in order for your internal process to continue.