Evidence rules – When conducting a workplace investigation there are rules relating to evidence that you need to be aware of and adhere to.
The laws of evidence prescribe standards to which a fact must be proved, in workplace investigations that are generally classed as civil proceedings in nature whether or not they end up in a court or tribunal, facts must be proved on the balance of probabilities. If the matter is of a criminal nature the facts must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
The civil burden of proof is considered to be a lower standard
Rule of evidence
Evidence obtained during an investigation or interview should be relevant to the matters under investigation.
The hearsay rule is complex, however basically hearsay evidence is third party evidence for example John tells you that Julie told him that she was being bullied by Mike.
The evidence provided by John is hearsay. You need to interview Julie to obtain the information.
Hearsay evidence is unlikely to be admitted if the matter goes to court.
It is better to rely on original documents, direct evidence from the parties and witnesses.
It is wise to seek multiple sources of evidence.
Be wary, just because you have evidence that a respondent behaved in a certain manner in the past does not mean they behaved in the same manner during the events that lead to the current investigation
Chain of evidence
You may have to show that the evidence you are relying upon is the actual evidence that you discovered during the course of the investigation for example documents or physical objects. I will cover the chain of evidence in part 3.
If you intend to conduct internal investigations I highly recommend that you consider purchasing our Investigation Toolbox http://awpti.com.au/investigation-toolbox/
or the Investigation Interview Manual. http://awpti.com.au/investigation-interview-manual/
If you require assistance with the investigations of workplace misconduct issues such as bullying, harassment, sexual harassment of any other issues please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org http://awpti.com.au/
AWPTI – workplace investigations in Sydney and through-out NSW, QLD and Victoria. Workplace training national wide
Workplace investigations misconduct, bullying, harassment & sexual harassment investigations