Every business at some point will encounter a workplace dispute. When disciplinary issues arise, a full and thorough investigation should be carried out before any action is taken. The purpose of an investigation is to establish all the facts, so all parties involved receive a fair and unbiased hearing.
Below are the factors that need to be considered when carrying out an investigation:
· What is the alleged issue/s?
· Circumstances and consequences of the alleged behaviour.
· The employees job/experience, length of and details of any other disciplinary matters.
· Evidence of any witnesses.
· Whether the employee has received the correct training for the job or received counselling (if needed) to attend to their needs.
· Any mitigating/exonerating circumstances
It is important that the investigating officer asks a direct question and receives an answer to that question.
Suspending an employee while under investigation
Some serious offences such as violence or theft may result in temporary suspension with full pay pending an investigation. However, while investigations are ongoing, it may be more beneficial for a company to consider an alternative to suspension e.g. relocate the employee to another department or take unused annual leave. You should also make it clear that any action taken at this stage is not considered a disciplinary action. This measure should also only be used after advice.
The outcome of the investigation should state one of three things;
1) No further action to be taken
2) Informal action/recommendations to address the matter
3) Proceed for disciplinary consideration