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While unfortunate, there may come a point where you and your company will need to carry out a workplace investigation. Having a policy in place will make sure you are able to do this by the book and without any injustices.
Read on to see what needs to be done to create a comprehensive workplace investigation policy.
What is a workplace investigation policy?
A workplace investigation policy is a document that sets out a company's policy in dealing with a workplace investigation. Having a strict set of procedures when it comes to handling a workplace investigation makes sure everything is done correctly. It also assures both employees and employers that everything is fair and above board, every time.
When should I use a workplace investigation policy?
This policy should be used whenever a workplace investigation is needed. Workplace investigations take place when facts and circumstances surrounding an allegation or complaint need to be determined.
Those conducting this investigation must follow the workplace investigation policy down to the letter; this gives credibility to the investigation and ensures fairness.
A workplace investigation policy is only needed when the allegation or complaint cannot be resolved informally.
Workplace investigation policy vs external investigation policy
A workplace investigation policy must only be followed if the event can be dealt with inside the company. If an external investigation, such as criminal investigation, has to take place, then a whole other set of procedures often have to take place.
It is sometimes the case that an internal workplace investigation has to take place before an external or criminal one. If this is the case, you need to make sure that the workplace investigation policy is carried out and recorded to the letter.
What does a workplace investigation policy include and not include?
What is included in a workplace investigation policy?
The following is included in a workplace investigation policy document:
- Responsibilities: The policy should include clear guidelines when it comes to the responsibilities of workers, supervisors, agency heads, human resource teams and the decision-maker.
- Process: A clear understanding of the whole process should be laid out. Human resources will generally be noted for managing the process, even if they are not leading the investigation.
- Evaluation: You will need to step out any complaint or allegation should be evaluated and assessed to determine how to handle it, who should handle it, who needs to be informed and what immediate action needs to be taken.
- Conducting interviews: The policy should touch on interviews will need to be conducted to gather information and evidence, although this may be given reluctantly or in anonymity.
- Finalising the process: Outline what happens when the investigation is over. The decision-maker is responsible for communicating the outcomes in an appropriate way and ensuring that the documents relevant to the investigation are retained.
What is not included in a workplace investigation policy?
A workplace investigation policy will not include specific references to job titles or employees. As the workplace investigation will not appoint an official decision-maker until the evaluation is complete, these specifics can be different every time.
How effective is a workplace investigation policy?
A workplace investigation policy is highly effective in offering a step-by-step process, especially when handling such a delicate subject matter. Policies such as these have been refined over many years, taking into account the variety of investigations and cases. Without such a policy, being able to fairly and justly carry out a workplace investigation would be difficult.
The effectiveness of a workplace investigation policy also comes to light when held up against external or criminal investigations. Without a workplace investigation policy, neither of these could take place effectively.
Do I need a lawyer for a workplace investigation policy?
A lawyer is not necessarily needed to write a workplace investigation policy. These policies are often written with subjective work-based policies in mind. However, there are certain legal must-dos when writing a workplace investigation policy, so it can be in your interest to cross-check this with a lawyer if they are unaware of the law.
Get access to customisable workplace investigation policy templates online
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How do I write a workplace investigation policy?
When writing a workplace investigation policy, it is crucial to write it with care and diligence, making sure that every legal checkpoint has been included and the procedures are being followed. By using pre-written legal templates, you can fill in the blanks and customise them to your own workplace environments.
Where to get free legal documents and templates like a workplace investigation policy
Free legal documents and templates can be found from a variety of online sources. Websites such as Lawpath and Wonder Legal are some of the most accessible of these websites. Workplace legislation and procedures can be found on governmental websites such as Fair Work and Australia.Gov.
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