Misconduct Training Christmas Parties

Misconduct Training Christmas Parties, misconduct at office Christmas parties can be a nightmare for businesses and HR professionals. When the end of year wind down includes alcohol, it can lead to bad behaviour, regrettable romances and at times fights. It is important to remember that employers have a duty of care to take all reasonable steps to prevent their employees from being subjected to harassment, sexual harassment and other forms of misconduct and that the duty extends to staff functions including Christmas parties.

Here are some suggestions to avoid the problems;

  • Take the time to prepare for potential problems –  Review your policies to ensure that they cover the behavioural expectations of your organisation and extend to out of work functions.
  • Communicate & Train.  Prior to the end of year function conduct training to remind your staff  of the following;
    • That the Christmas party is a work function and that the behavioural expectations of the workplace still apply
    • Bad behaviour will not be accepted
    • Bad behaviour that breaches a company policy could result in disciplinary action
    • This is also a great time to reinforce, train or retrain staff on your sexual harassment and workplace bullying policies
    • Incidents of misconduct will be investigated
  • Have control over catering to ensure food if available when alcohol is being served and also ensure the responsible service of alcohol including offering alternatives such as water, soft drinks etc
  • Consider the venue, make sure it is appropriate, consider the location re access to public transport and safety when leaving the venue
  • Set up emergency contacts for staff if they experience any issues on the night or are subject to inappropriate behaviour.
  • Reinforce your social media policy especially when it comes to posting photos or comments about the Christmas party, other staff members or the business.

In the event of misconduct at the work Christmas party and a complaint is received as an employer you are responsible for the actions of your employees towards each other. In the event that an incident has occurred and a complaint has been made, employers should deal with it fairly and swiftly. Never dismiss a complaint as ‘nothing’ or ‘just banter’. Investigations should be conducted professionally and thoroughly – failure to do so could result in an additional complaint against the company for discrimination. Equally, senior management should act to deal with inappropriate behaviour as and when it is happening.

Misconduct Training Christmas Parties – Things that employers should consider

  1. The need for a thorough and professional investigation as soon as possible?
    It is best not to wait to long to appoint an interval or external investigator.  Delaying the investigation could result in criticism from external agencies such as the FWC if the outcome is to dismiss the person subject of a complaint and the strong possibility of losing an unfair dismissal matter.
    Not sure of you should use an internal or external investigator, these articles may assist you –
    Workplace investigation DIY or call in an expert
    Choosing a workplace investigator
    The advantages of having a qualified workplace investigator on speed dial
  2. Is the business closing down over Christmas.
    Waiting until staff return from holidays or after a close down period may result in the lose of vital evidence
  3. Will the investigator have access to the relevant parties during the Christmas or close down period?
    It is suggested that you advise your staff during your pre-party training that if misconduct occurs staff may have to make themselves available to be interviewed during the close down period. In his case interviews are often conducted via the phone if staff are away on holidays.
  4. Does the conduct warrant suspension?
    You must consider the effect that the person subject of the complaint will have by remaining in the workplace, how will this effect the complainant and/or witnesses, is there a possibility of victimisation or contamination of evidence.
  5. Have you followed your behavioural, performance and discipline policies and ensured that you afforded procedural fairness
    Failure to do so could render a dismissal unfair at the FWC
  6. Don’t allow operational issues to effect the outcome of a decision to dismiss.
    If the behaviour warrants termination, you cannot wait until is it best for the business to dismiss the employee. The Christmas period and January may present operational issues but if you are terminating an employee for misconduct it cannot be at your convenience
  7. Summary dismissal
    Even in the case of serious misconduct, summary dismissal is not appropriate if you have waited until after Christmas or into the New Year to conduct the investigation and then terminate the employee.
    Not sure about serious misconduct and summary dismissal, articles here may help

The Christmas party is a time to have fun and wind down for the year. Good behaviour is simply a matter of common sense.

AWPTI can assist you by providing Misconduct Training Christmas Parties for your employees, check out our Misconduct at Workplace events (Conferences & Christmas parties) program on our Employee training page and help to reduce your compliance risks. The training is best conducts a couple of week prior to you event to ensure it is fresh in your employees mind.

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

www.awpti.com.au
http://awpti.com.au/investigations/
http://awpti.com.au/training/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Workplace bullying building trust – a recent article in HRD reference a A recent study conducted by Bupa that found a not so surprising link between trust and employee retention, with 53% of employees citing it as a major factor in whether they left a role. Article here

A great way to promote or destroy trust can be found in the way employers respond to incidents of bullying, harassment and sexual harassment.  From an employees perspective seeing something done builds trust, watching as nothing is done destroys trust.

I have conducted a number of investigations where I have heard comment such as “there was no point reporting this in the past, nothing ever happens.” when I hear this I consider it to be a systematic failure on the part of the organisation and in such cases it is not uncommon for staff to leave.

Workplace bullying building trust – It is a problem for employers when they are losing good staff only to be left with the bullies.

Workplace bullying building trust – What can employers do to build trust?

  1. Have a policy in place that sets out the behavioural expectations of the organisation.
  2. Have a trusted reporting mechanism in place for workplace bullying, harassment, sexual harassment and other forms of misconduct. It is important to remember, the mechanism will only be result if the reporters see action.
  3. Have a timely process in place to fairly, professionally investigate complaints of workplace bullying, harassment, sexual harassment and other forms of misconduct.

It is important that;

  1. The process to be transparent, remember trust coming from seeing something done
  2. Parties involved are kept up to date with the progress of any investigation.
  3. The person assigned to investigate the complaint has the skill, experience and time to do so in a fair and unbiased manner. If that can’t be achieved consider using an external investigator.

AWPTI can assist you with complete investigation services, however if you wish to DIY we suggest that you purchase our comprehensive Workplace Investigation Toolbox that contains 40 documents and manuals

  1. Step by step workplace investigation instructions (20 documents) (pdf)
  2. Complaint Analysis Chart (pdf)
  3. Investigation Flow Chart (pdf)
  4. Investigation Interview Manual (pdf)
  5. Procedural Fairness Manual (pdf)
  6. Reasonable Management Action Manual (pdf)
  7. Sexual harassment Manual (pdf)
  8. Evidence Manual (pdf)
  9. Template Risk Assessment form (Word doc)
  10. Template investigation plans x 2 (Word doc)
  11. Template letter to the complainant (Word doc)
  12. Template letter to the witnesses (Word doc)
  13. Template initial letter to the respondent (Word doc)
  14. Template letter of allegation to the respondent (Word doc)
  15. Template complainant interview guide/script (Word doc)
  16. Template witness interview guide/script (Word doc)
  17. Template respondent interview guide/script (Word doc)
  18. Sample witness statement (Word doc)
  19. Sample interim report (Word doc)
  20. Sample final investigation report (Word doc)

The word Docs allow you to use the templates and customise them for your investigation. Click here for further details or to purchase for only $795.00

If you don’t wish to purchase the entire toolbox you can purchase the manuals separately – More details

You may be interested in these articles
Drafting allegations – http://awpti.com.au/workplace-investigations-drafting-allegations/
Drafting allegation letters – http://awpti.com.au/workplace-investigation-allegation-letters/
(The templates in the document toolbox can ensure that you get this right)

AWPTI Investigation services – More details

AWPTI can also provide you with Workplace Investigation training – More details

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

www.awpti.com.au
http://awpti.com.au/investigations/
http://awpti.com.au/training/

Workplace Investigation Allegation Letters. The previous post about workplace investigation allegation letters (more details here) addressed the why you should use them. This article addresses the how and the format of allegation letters.

In a workplace investigation allegation letters are used to advise the person subject of the complaint about what has been alleged and also to invite that person to attend an interview to provide their version of events or their side of the story.

There are certain components that I recommend you include in an allegation letter, the section in italics are examples only;

The introduction: This generally tells the person subject of the complaint that a complaint has been made in reference to the alleged behaviour and will often nominate the complainant, for example;

(Name of investigator) has been assigned (if internal) or Investigation company (name) has engaged (in the case of an external investigator) to conduct an investigation and provide a report into complainant made against you by (complainant) that you have engaged in conduct that is inconsistent with (the insert name of company) Code of Conduct and the (insert name of policy potentially breached).

(Name of company) has an obligation to investigate these allegations

The invitation to attend an interview: This section will contain details of the where and when the interview will take place and details of the investigator. 

The investigation will be conducted by name of investigator (in the case of an external investigator)

On (Insert date, time and location) you are invited to meet with (insert name of investigator), to provide your response to the allegations made against you.

Notation about the support person: The Fair Work Act states that an unreasonable denial of a support person during an interview that could result in the dismissal of the employee might be considered to be a breach of procedural fairness guidelines and the dismissal found to be harsh. We recommend always offering a support person.

You are welcome to bring a support person with you, but we remind you this meeting is for you to respond to the allegations personally and present any information you would like taken into account. The role of this support person is as a witness or adviser but not an advocate. The support person must not be involved in the process or be someone that has been or may be interviewed in relation to the matter.

More details: At this point you may insert the details of the policy or section of the Code of Conduct the respondent has allegedly breached.

At the meeting you will be asked to respond to allegation/s that you have behaved in a manner that is not consistent with the (Name of company) workplace bullying policy;

(Name of company) Workplace bullying policy (insert exerts from the Code of Conduct for example).

            Standards of Conduct – The standards expected of employees include, but are not limited to:

Treat all fellow employees, customers and other third parties with courtesy and respect
Not engaging in bullying or harassing behaviour of any nature

To assist in the investigation, please be prepared to respond to each of the allegation/s in the attached table in your meeting with (investigator). The interview will give you an opportunity to provide information in regard to the complaints.

Information about the format of the interview: You should inform the respondent about how you intend to conduct or record the interview. NOTE you CANNOT record a person during an interview or otherwise without their knowledge, to do so may be a breach of the law, please check applicable law in your jurisdiction. In New South Wales it is the Surveillance Devices Act 2007.(full Act here)

The interview will be digitally recorded and a copy of the transcript will be provided to you as soon as it is available (if applicable). As part of the process, you may identify potential witnesses for the purposes of possible interviewing in relation to the complaints.

If you have any documents which you believe may be of assistance, please bring them with you. 

All information obtained during this investigation will assist in determining whether you have engaged in the misconduct as alleged and the making of a recommendation regarding whether or not disciplinary action is appropriate. 

Information about potential outcomes: It is important to advise the respondent of the potential outcomes especially if termination is a possibility,

Disciplinary action, if appropriate can include:

  • A formal apology;
  • counselling;
  • letter of warning
  • transfer/demotion;
  • dismissal;
  • Other forms of disciplinary action such as deductions from salary

Outcome of investigation

You should note no conclusions have been reached regarding the truth or otherwise of the allegations in the attached table.  The process being followed in this investigation is designed to ensure that you have a full and fair opportunity to respond before any conclusions are reached.

Confidentiality, victimisation and counselling: This is also very important to advise the respondent,

This investigation is confidential. You are asked not discuss it with any person who works at (the Company) or is closely connected to (the Company) except any person who is acting as your support person.  You must not discuss or mention the investigation or the complaint in writing or on social media, such as Facebook or Twitter.

The confidentiality restrictions applied to this investigation are to protect all parties involved, and apply to your support person also.  The confidentiality restrictions are also to reduce the likelihood that anyone may be victimised as a result of involvement in the investigation.  Victimisation is unlawful and can include criticising, threatening or abusing someone for making a complaint or being involved in an investigation process.

You can access employee assistance through (the Company) if you would like to – please contact (the Company) HR for further details if feel you require any support in this process.

The table of allegations: This will consist of the exact allegations you are asking the respondent to address during the interview

It is alleged that at 10.30am on Monday 1 January 2018 in the general office area, you behaved in that was inconsistent with the ABCDE (Company) Workplace Bullying policy when you spoke to Mary Co-worker in an intimidating and demeaning manner, when you said in a loud voice “What sort of idiot are you, you need to be sacked”.

More information about drafting allegations can be found here

Workplace Investigation Allegation Letters – How can AWPTI help you:

Drafting letters of allegation is a skill that should not be underestimated.  We have 5 options that may assist you, we can;
1. Conduct the entire investigation for you, that includes drafting the letters of allegation, details here
2. Provide you with comprehensive workplace investigation training, we conduct 1, 2 & 3 day courses to suit your needs, details here
3. Provide you with peer mentoring a guide you through the investigation, details here
4. Conduct an investigation review during the investigation including a review of your letters of allegation details here
5. We can supply you with our Workplace Investigation Document Toolbox that contains 40 documents and manuals including a template letter of allegation, more details and to order here

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

www.awpti.com.au
http://awpti.com.au/investigations/
http://awpti.com.au/training/

The author Phil O’Brien is a highly experienced and skilled workplace investigator and trainer who can take the stress out of conducting workplace investigations into bullying, harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination and other forms of misconduct.

You can contact me on 02 9674 4279 or phil@awpti.com.au

This is general information only. It does not replace advice from a qualified workplace investigator in your state or territory.  It is recommended that should you encounter issues in the workplace that you seek advice from suitability qualified and experienced workplace investigators.

This is general information only. It does not replace advice from a qualified legal professional or workplace investigator in your state or territory.  It is recommended that should you encounter issues in the workplace that you seek advice from suitability qualified and experienced legal professional or workplace investigators.

Workplace investigations drafting allegations – One of the most important parts of workplace investigations is the drafting of the allegations to be put to the person subject of a complaint. There are a number of important considerations;

Timing: Personally I interview the complainant first, then witnesses and then gather any other available evidence before attempting to draft allegations. I know of others who like to interview the respondent (the person subject of the complaint) earlier, but I prefer to have as much information as possible.

Content: An important part of the allegation is to ensure two of the components of procedural fairness are adhered to;
1. The right to know – the allegation must contain enough information so that the respondent knows what has been alleged.
2. The right to be heard – the allegation must contain enough information to allow the respondent to be able to make a response, should they wish to do so.

Format: There are various ways to format the allegation. When I draft an allegation it should consist of (as much as is known)
* Time and date
* Location (if important)
* The parties (complainant and respondent)
* The policy that relates to the behaviour or complaint.
* How the behaviour was inconsistent with the policy

An example of an allegation;

It is alleged that at 10.30am on Monday 1 January 2018 in the general office area, you behaved in that was inconsistent with the ABCDE (Company) Workplace Bullying policy when you spoke to Mary Co-worker in an intimidating and demeaning manner, when you said in a loud voice “What sort of idiot are you, you need to be sacked”.

The details:
* Time and date – Try to be as specific as possible, but you can’t use terms such as “at around”. Often, especially in bullying complaints the reports are delayed and may be historic, you may have to use between dates.  This makes it harder for an accurate response but it may be all you have.
* Location – if it is relevant include it.
* The parties – The complainant must be advised that their identify will be revealed to the respondent as part of procedural fairness.
* The policy that relates to the behaviour or complaint – Be specific. In the letter of allegations that I draft (which I will write about in part two of this article) I often include parts of the policy that the person subject of the complaint will be asked to respond to.
*The behaviour that was inconsistent with the policy – THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT and is an area where I see a lots of mistakes being made. You must be very clear about the terms you use. For example in the allegation about I used the terms “intimidating and demeaning manner.”

Intimidating came from the words used and the statement/interview from the complainant when asked how she felt. In this case there was a power unbalance with the respondent being able sack or have the complainant sacked in addition it was said in a loud voice.
Demeaning also came from the words used and complainant statement and that they were said in the general office in front of other staff.

You should also ask the complainant how they felt, be careful here, if they say “I felt intimidated” don’t put your own views on it and use for example the word ‘”Threatened” as you may not have the evidence to back up the use of that word, consistency is the key

As a side note when I conduct an investigation, I do all the paperwork including letters to the parties and especially the allegations.

Other terms: With any term you use you must be specific about the “how” For example if John Citizen bullied Mark Co-worker, how did he do it, things to consider:
* What was said
* Any contextual issues
* relationships
* The tone of voice (angry, aggressive etc)
* The volume (Don’t use the work yelled for example unless you have evidence.  If someone mentions yelled or raised voice during an interview I will ask this question “If we are now talking at level 3 on a scale of 1 – 10, give a a number for how loud it was ?”
*
Where there any other actions, where were you, such as how close did they stand, were you seated the list can go on, again be specific.

Well written allegations will provide the respondent with enough detail to respond without giving away all of your evidence.

Order: Personally I prefer to list the allegations in date order ranging form the most recent. I may change this process if the more serious allegations are out of that order.  In that case I co-list then allegations in order of seriousness and date.

Quantity: More is not necessarily better, don’t draft 150 allegations if 10 will do.  Don’t draft allegations for the sake of it, have evidence and don’t duplicate. 

Proof: The investigation, the allegations and the respondent interview are designed to help the investigator to prove or disprove the complaint, things to consider;
* You shouldn’t make up you mind about guilt or innocence prior to hearing the respondents version of events.
* Allegations should have evidence to back them up, it is up to the investigator to weight up the evidence at the conclusion of the investigation.
* You may draft an allegations with limited or slim evidence but the weight of that evidence must be considered during the final report.
* In the case of Paulson v Industrial Relations Secretary (Department of Justice) the NSW Industrial Relations Commission found that out of the 42 allegations (Full judgment available on our download page) the majority were not proven to a satisfactory standard and those that were proven did not warrant dismissal.

How can AWPTI help you: Drafting allegations is a skill that should not be underestimated.  We have 5 options that may assist you, we can;
1. Conduct the entire investigation for you as as i mentioned that includes drafting the allegations, details here
2. Provide you with comprehensive workplace investigation training, we conduct 1, 2 & 3 day courses to suit your needs, details here
3. Provide you with peer mentoring a guide you through the investigation, details here
4. Conduct an investigation review during the investigation including a review of your allegations details here
5. We can supply you with our Workplace Investigation Document Toolbox that contains 40 documents and manuals including a template letter of allegation, more details and to order here

Other articles that may interest you

Letters of allegation
Procedural fairness

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

www.awpti.com.au
http://awpti.com.au/investigations/
http://awpti.com.au/training/

The author Phil O’Brien is a highly experienced and skilled workplace investigator and trainer who can take the stress out of conducting workplace investigations into bullying, harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination and other forms of misconduct.

You can contact me on 02 9674 4279 or phil@awpti.com.au

This is general information only. It does not replace advice from a qualified workplace investigator in your state or territory.  It is recommended that should you encounter issues in the workplace that you seek advice from suitability qualified and experienced workplace investigators.

This is general information only. It does not replace advice from a qualified legal professional or workplace investigator in your state or territory.  It is recommended that should you encounter issues in the workplace that you seek advice from suitability qualified and experienced legal professional or workplace investigators.

Sexual Harassment Training – it is apparent that the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace is not going away.

As an employer what are you duties and responsibilities?

A recent article suggested that sexual harassment should be recognised as a workplace safety issue more details here

The Work, Health & Safety Act imposes a responsibility (Duty of Care) on employers or persons conducting a business to take all reasonable steps to ensure that there is nothing in the workplace that could cause an employee to suffer an injury or to contract an illness, this includes taking reasonable steps to eliminate and/or respond to workplace sexual harassment and bullying.

Courts have found that workplace sexual harassment and bullying can lead to the development of psychological injuries such as anxiety, stress, depression, PTSD and in the worse cases lead to suicide.

If a complaint of sexual harassment is received, failure to act could result in a finding that there has been a breach of a duty of care and can result in a claim of negligence and the potential for costly litigation and large compensation payouts, for more details

To ensure that you satisfy your Duty of Care it is strongly recommended that you must have;

  • A policy that makes it clear that your business will not tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace and will take all reasonable steps to minimise the likelihood of it occurring?
  • Training to support your policy so that all you employees know what the behavioural expectations of the organisation are?
  • Training that ensures your employees understand what constitutes sexual harassment?
  • A trusted process by which employees who feel that they have been sexual harassment can report the matter?
  • A professional and timely procedure by which reports of sexual harassment are investigated?
  • The ability to outsource sexual harassment complaints for investigation by professional and expert workplace investigators if required.
  • Training for your managers and HR staff to ensure that they are able to identify behaviours in the workplace that could lead to complaints and take pro-active steps to deal with such matters.
  • Training for your managers and HR staff to ensure that they can investigate matters of sexual harassment in a timely and professional manner?

Many employers are faced with questions around, what sort of training, how will it be delivered, who will deliver it.

AWPTI can assist you in a number of ways;

AWPTI – workplace investigation Sydney and through-out NSW, QLD and Victoria. Workplace training national wide

Misconduct investigations, bullying investigations, harassment investigations & sexual harassment investigations, complaint investigations, grievance investigations, discrimination investigations

www.awpti.com.au
http://awpti.com.au/investigations/
http://awpti.com.au/training/
http://awpti.com.au/hr-products/

Workplace Investigation getting it right for first time every time – Recently an article appeared in the Brisbane times that alleged that a cadet journalist was dismissed unfairly, the headline reading – ‘This is disgusting’: Seven Network under fire after cadet dismissed”Link to article

Please note, this post is based on the information contained in the article no judgement is made on the validity of the content and to our knowledge the allegation made against Channel Seven have not been tested. Channel Seven has since denied the allegations and the matter was settled out of Court in February.

This article considers the general principals of procedural fairness. regardless of whether or not Channel Seven did the right things here are some tips about procedural fairness in dealing with misconduct matters.

Some of the issues raised in the article included;
“When Ms Taeuber asked for the statement of the person making the allegations of bullying against her, the HR manager said: “OK, so how do we want to plan your exit, Amy? I do understand that we don’t want to make it humiliating for you.”

This may fall under the FWA procedural fairness guideline – the right to know

The right to know is referenced in the Fair Work Act 2009 – s387 – Criteria for considering harshness etc.

In considering whether it is satisfied that a dismissal was harsh, unjust or unreasonable, the FWC must take into account;

s387 (b) whether the person was notified of the reason for the allegation of misconduct.

It is important that a person accused of wrongdoing or misconduct has the right to know what it is alleged that they have done. This should be done at the earliest possible opportunity in as much detail as is reasonable.

The right be heard or to respond to an allegation/complaint or performance issue is referenced in the Fair Work Act 2009 – s387 – criteria for considering harshness etc.

In considering whether it is satisfied that a dismissal was harsh, unjust or unreasonable, the FWC must take into account:

s387 (C)  whether the person was given an opportunity to respond to any reason related to the capacity or conduct of the person

When a complaint or allegation is made against an employee or that an employee’s behaviour or performance is unsatisfactory, that employee has the right to respond or put their side of the story or version of events forward.

In the case of a complaint or allegation, after the employee has been advised of the issue they must be given sufficient time to consider the complaint before being asked to respond. The time will depend on the seriousness and perhaps the number of issues. We recommend putting yourself in their place and provide sufficient time.

The article also stated that;

“The audio recording puts a spotlight on Seven’s treatment of its employees. Early in the meeting, the HR manager had ordered Ms Taeuber’s support person, chief of staff Lesley Johns, leave the room. When Ms Johns began to protest, she was cut off.”

This may fall under the FWA procedural fairness guideline – the right to have a support person present

The right to have a support present during interviews that may result in disciplinary action being taken against the employee is referenced in the Fair Work Act 2009 – s387 – Criteria for considering harshness etc.

In considering whether it is satisfied that a dismissal was harsh, unjust or unreasonable, the FWC must take into account:

s387 (d) any unreasonable refusal by the employer to allow the person to have a support person present to assist at any discussions relating to dismissal

Workplace Investigation getting it right for first time every time – The investigation into workplace misconduct and complaints requires experience and expertise in understanding of the process, investigative interviewing, procedural fairness, the rules of evidence and relevant legislation. If you don’t have this or the time to conduct a thorough investigation we recommend one of three options;

  1. Call an expert – http://awpti.com.au/ or contact us on 02 9674 4279 or enquiries@awpti.com.au
  2. Get some training, we highly recommend – http://awpti.com.au/investigation-training/
  3. If you still want to ‘Do it Yourself’ without training we have a number of products that can assist – http://awpti.com.au/hr-products/

Don’t take the risk of getting in wrong, it can be costly.

AWPTI – Workplace training Sydney and through-out NSW and national wide
Misconduct training, bullying training, harassment training & sexual harassment training, dispute & grievance resolution training, management training.

http://awpti.com.au/training/

workplace training Sydney, workplace training NSW, workplace training QLD, workplace training Victoria, misconduct training, bullying training Sydney, Workplace training harassment, sexual harassment training, grievance training, management training

The author Phil O’Brien is a highly experienced and skilled workplace investigator and trainer who can take the stress out of conducting workplace investigations into bullying, harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination and other forms of misconduct.

This is general information only. It does not replace advice from a qualified workplace investigator in your state or territory.  It is recommended that should you encounter issues in the workplace that you seek advice from suitability qualified and experienced workplace investigators.

This is general information only. It does not replace advice from a qualified legal professional or workplace investigator in your state or territory.  It is recommended that should you encounter issues in the workplace that you seek advice from suitability qualified and experienced legal professional or workplace investigators.

Workplace Bullying Harassment Training NSW ACT – Australian Workplace Training & Investigation (AWPTI) provides workplace training tailored to suit your business requirements through-out NSW and the ACT in the areas of;

  • Bullying
  • Harassment
  • Sexual harassment
  • Discrimination
  • Reasonable Management Action
  • Performance management
  • Other forms of misconduct including
  • Misuse of IT, internet and email
  • Misuse of resources
  • Breaches of Code and Conduct and policies
  • Social media
  • Acceptable behaviour at work functions
  • Fair Work Act – unfair dismissal

All of our courses are reality based, our case studies are taken from actual complaints and actual investigations.  Our facilitators are workplace investigators and lawyers who have investigated every type of complaint and grievance imaginable.

We have found that listening to the ‘war stories’ makes the training highly engaging and enjoyable for the participants. Our programs all come with a comprehensive resource workbook.

Workplace Bullying Harassment Training NSW ACT – Our training is designed to help employees at all levels to understand what is and what is not workplace misconduct and to help managers and HR professionals to deal with complaints and take all reasonable stop to eliminate and address misconduct in the workplace in a fair and timely manner.

Our courses provide participants with practical skills to enable employees to recognise what is and what is not bullying, harassment and discrimination and offer strategies to deal with bullying and sexual harassment effecting people at events in the workplace and also the opportunity to analyse and discuss real complaints and investigations

For more details about our
Employee training – http://awpti.com.au/employee-training/
Management training – http://awpti.com.au/management-training/
HR Professionals training – http://awpti.com.au/investigation-training/

Workplace Bullying Harassment Training NSW ACT – Contact us now to book your program enquiries@awpti.com.au

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

www.awpti.com.au
http://awpti.com.au/investigations/
http://awpti.com.au/training/

Workplace Bullying Training – What are you doing?

Workplace bullying can be costly to employers and organisations thought the loss of valuable staff, loss or productivity and the potential for legal cost and compensation payouts. For employees it can lead to psychological trauma and life life mental health issues.

Addressing workplace bullying is essential and one way of doing this is Workplace Bullying Training.

WorkSafe Victoria will conduct a series of workshops over the next three years to give business owners information about how to recognise, prevent and manage workplace bullying, and how to better help employees return to work after suffering mental health injuries associated with bullying behaviour.

Targeted inspections will also be conducted in the local area focusing on industries with the higher number of mental injury claims lodged due to workplace bullying.

Workplace bullying is a serious breach of workplace health and safety laws and employers tolerating it risk prosecution.

“Of the 26,000 injury claims lodged with WorkSafe in 2016, more than 3100 were for mental injuries, and 1260 of those mentioned bullying as a cause,” said WorkSafe’s Executive Director of Health and Safety, Marnie Williams.

“The insidious nature of bullying means that often the damage is done long before an injured worker makes a WorkCover claim, which is why it is essential employers have prevention measures in place and work with employees to identify unacceptable behaviour and deal with it immediately.”

Ms. Williams said workplace bullying will never be acceptable under any circumstances.

“Workplace bullying is characterized by persistent and repeated negative behaviour directed at an employee that creates a risk to health and safety,” said Ms. Williams.

“WorkSafe is committed to helping employers and workers manage these types of risks, and to take action where it is appropriate to do so.”

If your organisation does not have access to the type of programs offered by WorkSafe, AWPTI can assist with programs tailored to suit your need and your budget – http://awpti.com.au/employee-training/

We can also provide a range of training for managers and HR Professionals – http://awpti.com.au/training/

Don’t take the risk of doing nothing or getting it wrong.

 

Workplace Investigation Misconduct Complaints Grievances – When faced with issues of workplace misconduct or complaints or grievances employers have a duty of care to respond in a manner that ensures a safe working environment. – Read more about the duty of care

Generally when you receive a complaint you have 3 choices;

1. Outsource to an external investigator (See what the FWC had to say about outsourcing investigations – read more)
2. Conduct an investigation internally
3. Do nothing (you would be amazed at how often this is the preferred option)

Reasons to outsource.

Outsourcing will involve a cost but you should consider it if you don’t have someone in the organisation who has the necessary;
1. Skill/expertise
2. Experience
3. Time (Don’t underestimate the time take up by investigations, time that other HR or managerial work is not being done)
4. Desire (Often HR professionals or managers are tasked with conducting an investigation that they really do not want to do.

Also that you can ensure;
1. A lack of bias, generally people within then organisation know the parties and make have relationships – (Read more about avoiding bias)
2. An absence of any conflict of interest
3. Your investigator understands the investigation process, procedural fairness, evidence, admissible questions and report writing that will withstand scrutiny by tribunals and courts.

Reasons conduct the investigation internally

You answered yes to all of the above and you want to save money.

Recommendations for internal investigations

1. Have your investigators, HR professionals or managers trained to conduct professional investigations it is a cost effective method of helping to ensure that you get it right the first time every time.  – AWPTI can assist by provided investigation training courses – Read more

Follow the TOP TEN tips for conducting internal workplace investigations

1. After receipt of the complaint draft an investigation plan including what needs to be done, who is going to do it,time frames and timelines.
2. Review the complaint (they are mostly written or via email) identify the parties, the complainant, respondent (the person subject of the complaint and witnesses, identify areas that need to be clarified and/or what other information is required and how it is going to be gathered. Draft interview plans.
3. Notify the parties that an investigation is underway.
4. Interview the complainant first to obtain full details of the complaint, to clarify any issues or outstanding information, identify any potential witnesses or other sources of evidence
5. Interview any nominated or known witnesses to corroborate or otherwise the version of events from the complainant and/or fill in any holes in the evidence
6. Review all your evidence in reference to the organisations policies and/or Code of Conduct, has there been a breach if so what kind. Does the behaviour complained about fall within the definition of workplace bullying (read more), or other misconduct such as sexual harassment.
7. Draft a letter of allegation to be sent to the respondent, this letter MUST afford the respondent procedural fairness.
8. Interview the respondent, this interview MUST also afford the respondent procedural fairness. You may also be required to interview witnesses nominated by the respondent. (For more information about  procedural fairness)
9. Review and analyse all of the evidence
10. Make and report your findings based only on the evidence and make recommendations if required.

We hope that this article and these tips are able to assist you to traverse the minefield of workplace investigation misconduct complaints grievances, we have a number of services and products that may be able to assist you;
Outsourced investigations – http://awpti.com.au/investigations/
Investigation training – http://awpti.com.au/investigation-training/
Investigation Document Toolbox – http://awpti.com.au/investigation-toolbox/ (all the documents and guides for conducting internal workplace investigations
Investigation Manuals – http://awpti.com.au/hr-products/ (Useful manual to help you to conduct internal workplace investigations including procedural Fairness, Interviewing and Reasonable Management Action)

AWPTI – workplace investigation Sydney and through-out NSW, QLD and Victoria. Workplace training national wide

Misconduct investigations, bullying investigations, harassment investigations & sexual harassment investigations, complaint investigations, grievance investigations, discrimination investigations

Workplace Bullying is an issue that is still facing an increasing number of employers and adversely affecting many employees.

To address these issues we recommend the following;
1. Training on what workplace bullying is and what it is not and what the behavioural expectations of the organisation are. AWPTI can assist with a number of programs for mangers, staff and HR professionals – http://awpti.com.au/training/

2. Investigate complaints in a timely and professional manner – Not sure what to do or how to do it, Read more,
AWPTI can assist – http://awpti.com.au/investigations/

What is workplace bullying?

Workplace bullying is any behaviour that is repeated, systematic and directed towards an employee or group of employees that a reasonable person, having regard to the circumstances, would expect to victimise, humiliate, undermine or threaten and which creates a risk to health and safety.

The principles contained in the anti-bullying provisions of the Fair Work Act also provide assistance in determining whether bullying has occurred. The Fair Work Commission’s Anti-bullying Benchbook provides download here: FWC Anti Bullying Benchbook

Bullying – When is a worker bullied at work?

See Fair Work Act s.789FD – Read more

A worker is bullied at work if, while the worker is at work in a constitutionally-covered business, another individual, or group of individuals, repeatedly behaves unreasonably towards the worker, and that behaviour creates a risk to health and safety.

Bullying can cover behaviours carried out by one or more people.

The definition gives effect to the Government’s response to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Employment’s report Workplace bullying We just want it to stop”.

Repeated unreasonable behaviour

The Committee noted that ‘repeated behaviour’ refers to the persistent nature of the behaviour and can refer to a range of behaviours over time and that ‘unreasonable behaviour’ is behaviour that a reasonable person, having regard to the circumstances, may see as unreasonable (in other words it is an objective test). This would include (but is not limited to) behaviour that is victimising, humiliating, intimidating or threatening.

There is no specific number of incidents required for the behaviour to be considered ‘repeated’, nor does the same specific kind of behaviour have to be repeated.

Risk to health and safety

A risk to health and safety means the possibility of danger to health and safety, and is not confined to actual danger to health and safety.

The ordinary meaning of ‘risk’ is exposure to the chance of injury or loss.

The bullying behaviour must create the risk to health and safety. Therefore there must be a causal link between the behaviour and the risk. Cases on causation in other contexts suggest that the behaviour does not have to be the only cause of the risk, provided that it was a substantial cause of the risk viewed in a common sense and practical way.

Behaviour will not be considered bullying if it is reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable manner.

Safe Work Australia – Guide for Preventing & Responding to Workplace Bullying

Safe Work Australia has provided guidelines for the prevention of and response to workplace bullying – download here – Safework Australia Guide to preventing & responding to workplace bullying

Workplace bullying can adversely affect the psychological and physical health of a person. Workplace bullying is a psychological hazard that has the potential to harm a person, and it also creates a psychological risk as there is a possibility that a person may be harmed if exposed to it. If effective control measures are put in place to address and resolve workplace issues early, a workplace can minimise the risk of workplace bullying and prevent it from becoming acceptable behaviour in the workplace.

Workplace bullying is repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety.

Repeated behaviour refers to the persistent nature of the behaviour and can involve a range of behaviours over time.

Unreasonable behaviour means behaviour that a reasonable person, having considered the circumstances, would see as unreasonable, including behaviour that is victimising, humiliating, intimidating or threatening.

Examples of behaviour, whether intentional or unintentional, that may be workplace bullying if they are repeated, unreasonable and create a risk to health and safety include but are not limited to:

  • abusive, insulting or offensive language or comments
  • aggressive and intimidating conduct
  • belittling or humiliating comments
  • victimisation
  • practical jokes or initiation
  • unjustified criticism or complaints
  • deliberately excluding someone from work-related activities
  • withholding information that is vital for effective work performance
  • setting unreasonable timelines or constantly changing deadlines
  • setting tasks that are unreasonably below or beyond a person’s skill level
  • denying access to information, supervision, consultation or resources to the detriment of the worker
  • spreading misinformation or malicious rumours, and
  • changing work arrangements such as rosters and leave to deliberately inconvenience a particular worker or workers.

If the behaviour involves violence, for example physical assault or the threat of physical assault, it should be reported to the police.

Workplace bullying can also be subtle & could include behaviour such as:

  • Deliberately excluding, isolating or marginalising a person from normal workplace activities
  • Intruding on a person’s space by pestering, spying or tampering with their personal effects or work equipment
  • Intimidating a person through inappropriate personal comments, belittling opinions or unjustified criticism

Covert behaviour that undermines, treats less favourably or dis-empowers others is also bullying; for example:

  • Overloading a person with work
  • Setting timelines that are very difficult to achieve or constantly changing deadlines
  • Setting tasks that are unreasonably beyond a person’s ability
  • Ignoring or isolating a person
  • Deliberately denying access to information, consultation or resources
  • Unfair treatment in relation to accessing workplace entitlements, such as leave or training or failure to provide adequate training

Workplace bullying can take place in person, through a secondary person or other persons or via remote communications such as telephone, email or the internet.

The use of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or online chat forums for bullying purposes in or outside the workplace can constitute workplace bullying if it forms part of a pattern, or is an extension of bullying that has or is occurring in the workplace or is directed at a fellow employee.

Workplace bullying behaviour does not include:

  • Reasonable action taken, in a reasonable manner by an employer to counsel, transfer, demote, discipline, retrench or dismiss an employee
  • Legitimate and appropriate management including the management of performance
  • Legitimate and appropriate performance review
  • A decision by an employer, based on reasonable grounds, not to award or provide a promotion, transfer, or benefit about an employee’s employment
  • Reasonable administrative action taken in a reasonable manner by an employer about an employee’s employment; or
  • Reasonable action taken in a reasonable manner under an Act affecting an employee
  • Management of work-related interpersonal conflicts and occasional differences of opinion which may be more appropriately addressed under the companies Grievance Resolution policy
  • Investigations into bona fide complaints
  • Participation in dispute resolution processes

For assistance with training (we have specialised packages for managers, staff and HR professionals) or investigation please contact us – enquiries@awpti.com.au or 02 9674 4279

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