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Top tips for minimising risk when carrying out an investigation

Workplace complaints, particularly those involving serious allegations of misconduct, bullying and harassment and discrimination can be tricky to investigate; navigating complex issues often in highly emotive circumstances. Making sure that the investigation is carried out effectively, efficiently, objectively and without causing undue additional aggravation is of the utmost priority.

In this second article in the series Caroline Shafar, Partner in our Employment team and expert investigator shares another of her top tips for organisations when faced with investigating workplace issues…

The first article on choosing an investigator is available here.

It’s all in the planning!

Investigations can be complex; multiple complaints with multiple witnesses often spanning a number of years. The scope of the investigation can also change over time as new allegations are raised. Planning is going to be key to ensuring that the investigation is fair and thorough.

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I’d recommend taking the following steps as part of your planning process:

  • Step 1 – Make a list of all the allegations that you are investigating. I often put these into a numbered table format. It sounds simple but in a complex case you need to be clear about what it is you are investigating and that you don’t miss anything
  • Step 2 – Make a list of the documents that are going to be relevant to the allegations
  • Step 3 – Against each allegation, make a list of the witnesses that you think will be helpful to see
  • Step 4 – Prepare the questions for each witness before you see them. This will help you ensure that all the issues are covered and will give you structure to the meeting.

How can we help

At Ward Hadaway we have a team of objective experienced investigators who can provide bespoke,  interactive training, to help upskill your team equipping your staff with the tools and knowledge to investigate complaints of any nature.

Our  team are also able to carry out investigations on your behalf with the ability to act independently and efficiently to get the bottom of issues without the added emotion or aggravation that can arise when investigating long serving team members or close colleagues. The depth of experienced investigators in our team ensures that we are able to provide someone who can make themselves available to fit in with your timescales.

If you would like to receive more information about training, or if you would like our team to carry out an investigation on your behalf please get in touch with Caroline Shafar or another of our expert investigators.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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