Workplace complaint investigations Sydney – do it yourself or call an expert?

Workplace complaint investigations Sydney- You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to conduct a workplace investigation, however as a manager you may be the first port of call for someone making a complaint and it is important that you receive the complaint in a proper manner and take some sort of action, the types of action can include

  • Informal enquiries
  • Formal investigation
  • Dispute resolution

Before you take any action it is important to understand what the complaint is about and remember failure to take action could result in a breach of a duty of care and a claim of negligence.

As a manager if you have receive a serious complaint. You must decide whether or not to investigate.  While an investigation may be costly and time-consuming; it is likely the cost of NOT conducting one could be substantially greater.

If you dismiss or take disciplinary action against an employee without having properly investigated the incident and establishing relevant facts; it is possible that the Fair Work Commission, Tribunals or Courts could find that the dismissal or disciplinary actions were harsh, unjust or unreasonable and remedies at law could be applied.

If an employer fails to investigate a workplace complaint/incident the following may result:

  • The potential for action under the Work Health and Safety Act for any subsequent injury or illness suffered by the complainant.
  • An inability to defend a legal claim by an employee due to lack of evidence.
  • Being found vicariously liable for the actions of an employee (e.g. “reasonable steps” defence).
  • May give rise to potential penalties under the new Fair Work Act amendments – eg: the commission will be required to take into account what actions the employer took in response to original complaint.
  • Being unable to show circumstances of mitigation to a court or tribunal in response to a legal claim.
  • Failing to meet relevant duty of care to employees.
  • Being subjected to adverse and/or damaging publicity.
  • The loss of, or inability to attract, good employees – creates a poor work culture, (i.e. perception of employer incompetence).
  • Engage and expert or ‘do it yourself’?

Workplace complaint investigations – important considerations

Do we have someone with the necessary expertise and experience to conduct an investigation?

Do we have the time to undertake an investigation which could take between four to six weeks?

If the employer is going to conduct an internal investigation or enquiry does the person/s nominated:

  • Have solid experience conducting investigations?
  • Have solid experience conducting investigative interviews?
  • Have a full understanding of the rules of evidence?
  • Have an understanding of procedural fairness?
  • Have an understanding of current legislation as it relates to workplace complaints such as misconduct, bullying, harassment, sexual harassment and discrimination?
  • Have experience making finding and recommendations and writing reports that will withstand the scrutiny of an industrial commission, the  Fair Work Commission or a court.

A common sense rule is that if you are not sure about what to do or how to do it or if you can do it properly or if you have the time to do it, call an expert, get some advice, the peace of mind that comes from having a professional investigator handle the issues for you is…….Priceless, really its elementary!

AWPTI – workplace investigations Sydney and through-out NSW, QLD and Victoria. Workplace training national wide
Misconduct investigations, bullying investigations, harassment investigations & sexual harassment investigations, workplace complaint investigation Sydney

workplace complaint investigation Sydney


0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.