From time to time an employer must undertake an investigation after either receiving a complaint from an employee about another employee, from a complaint by a client or customer or member of the public about an employee or the employer themselves have noticed or witnessed certain behaviour which they believe is a breach of an employee’s duties to their employment contract.
In any of these circumstances an employer is under an obligation to undertake a fair and thorough investigation.
Too many employers fail to undertake that task correctly.
Many leave themselves exposed to accusations that they were biased, that they did not undertake an investigation at all, that the investigation was procedurally unfair, or simply was not thorough enough or that they ignored important evidence.
Workplace investigations are becoming more and more of a specialised field and there are now full time practitioners undertaking workplace investigations throughout New Zealand. Some are more qualified than others.
Many New Zealand Workplace Investigators now hold a Certificate from the AWI Institute of America which is run by the Association of Workplace Investigators.
Of course, engaging an independent Workplace Investigator involves a cost.
If you do not wish to undertake that cost, then you have a duty to undertake the investigation yourself.
It is important that you follow the correct procedures and it is recommended that you take legal advice before commencing an investigation to ensure that you undertake it and conduct it in a transparent and fair manner.