Investigations

An employee feeling distressedWe are experienced workplace investigators. We help employers conduct fair and impartial Acas-compliant grievances and disciplinary investigations.

Read more: Our approach | Our process

Unfortunately, issues sometimes arise in the workplace. These can be disciplinary issues, where employee conduct is concerned, or an employee raising a formal complaint.

It is always better if you can handle the matter informally. In this is not possible, you may have to manage the situation via a formal grievance or disciplinary procedure.

That’s where we can help…
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Grievance and disciplinary processes should ensure that an issue is investigated and decided in an impartial manner. This helps you reassure the employee that they will get a fair and balanced outcome.

Sometimes a grievance or disciplinary problem may end up in an Employment Tribunal. The Tribunal will want to see that the matter was handled in accordance with the Acas Code of Practice and they take a dim view of violations of the Code. Consequently, a violation of the Code of Practice may cause the tribunal to increase the award by up to 25%

Therefore, ensuring your procedure adheres to the Acas Code of Practice is extremely important. It not only helps ensure the employee gets a fair and balanced outcome but also helps protect your business and your reputation.

We help business run Acas compliant investigations and procedures.

Why use an independent investigator?

While there is no obligation to use an external investigator, it may be preferable in certain circumstances.

Resource constraints

An employee drowning in paperworkIt could be that there are insufficient resources available within the organisation with the appropriate experience and skills to carry out the investigation.

Internal investigators need to be independent from any of the stakeholders within the investigation. Therefore, you need to select someone who has no working relationship with the individuals concerned. This can sometimes make it hard to identify an individual resource from within the company.

Alternatively, it could simply be that the investigation is complex!. It may involve multiple inter-related issues and a number of individual interviews may be required. You may not have anyone with sufficient bandwidth to take on such an investigation with the required diligence and focus.

Objective impartiality

Lady justice holding her scales for impartial investigationsSome matters may involve senior members of staff, especially upper management or other prominent figures of power and influence within the organisation.

In these cases, it may be difficult to find an internal investigator who can conduct a completely impartial investigation free from any actual or perceived influence.

You may wish to use an independent investigator for such situations because they’re unrelated to the employer or management structure. If you do, it may help reassure the employee that their matter is being handled with genuine impartiality. The employee can see that the investigator is under no pressure to defend any of the parties involved.

Therefore, the employee is less likely to allege that the investigation was prejudiced or that the company “closed ranks”.

There are likely to be conflicting viewpoints expressed within interviews and individuals key to the investigation may have a lot at stake in the outcome. It is therefore essential that all parties recognise the investigators as fair and impartial, so that the outcome can be accepted by all concerned.

Rational, structured investigations

Most grievances and disciplinary situations hold significant emotional investment for the employee concerned and often involve multiple issues.

We take a calm, rational and structured approach to the investigative process. We obtain a clear understanding of the situation in a manner that is sensitive and respectful to all the parties involved.

Producing a documented outcome that addresses each of the raised concerns is important to us. Therefore, we investigate each component of the grievance in a diligent and evidence-based manner. Feel free to read more about our approach and how we conduct investigations. You may also find it useful to see the process flow that we follow for our investigations.
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If you would like to discuss getting our assistance with a grievance, please contact us today.