ACAS have published new guidance on how to carry out workplace investigations with some useful reminders for employers. Carrying out a proper and thorough investigation is crucial before taking disciplinary action against an employee or deciding an employee's grievance. Paying only cursory attention to this stage can often be the downfall of what might have otherwise been a sound basis for disciplinary action or for a decision to uphold a grievance. Ultimately, in the event of a tribunal claim for unfair dismissal a poor investigation can result in a finding of procedural or even substantive unfairness against an employer. Therefore employers should pay keen attention to this important stage of a disciplinary and grievance process and would be wise to seek appropriate legal advice to ensure the requirements of a proper investigation process are satisfied.
Carrying out investigations in the workplace Problems can arise in any workplace and making sure they are dealt with fairly and consistently may require an investigation. A properly conducted investigation allows an employer to fully consider the matter and then make an informed decision on it.Key pointsAn investigation is a fact-finding exercise to collect all the relevant information on a matter.An investigator should be given clear guidance on what exactly they are required to investigate, and how their findings should be reported.Whenever possible the investigator should not be involved in the issue being investigated.The investigator should gather and document what the issues of the matter are, consider what evidence may be available and relevant, and how it may be collected.