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What is a workplace investigation?

If you receive a complaint about sexual harassment, discrimination or other serious misconduct, you will need to carry out a workplace investigation to find out exactly what has taken place and who is involved, before you take any further action.

It is vital that a workplace investigation is conducted fairly, thoroughly and confidentially – or you could find yourself defending a claim for unfair dismissal in the Fair Work Commission, and ordered to pay compensation to your former employee/s.

What should trigger a formal workplace investigation?

Any complaint of discrimination, sexual harassment, bullying or victimisation should be treated extremely seriously, and trigger an immediate formal workplace investigation.

In addition, any alleged serious misconduct that could result in the termination of an employee should also trigger a workplace investigation.

What is serious misconduct?

Serious misconduct is conduct that is wilful or deliberate and that is inconsistent with the continuation of an employment contract.

Serious misconduct is also conduct that causes serious and imminent risk to the health and safety of a person, or to the reputation, viability or profitability of your business.

It can include:

  • theft
  • fraud
  • assault
  • intoxication at work
  • refusal to carry out lawful and reasonable instructions

It is important to understand that if you dismiss a worker without notice (summary dismissal) for serious misconduct, you could still end up losing a claim of unfair dismissal, because the Fair Work Commission could decide that the dismissal was harsh and disproportionate to the offence committed.

That’s why it’s important to seek expert legal advice if you are dealing with an allegation of serious misconduct.

How we can help

At Supportah, we have extensive experience conducting independent workplace investigations on behalf of employers.

We know how to

  • conduct all necessary interviews,
  • collect all relevant evidence, including emails, video footage and text messages,
  • and provide you with a detailed report of our findings.

We will then recommend the appropriate course of action for you to take.

Allowing our team to handle a workplace investigation will reduce the chances of you having to defend an unfair dismissal claim in the Fair Work Commission.


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