Having a general conversation with employees who are involved in an investigation helps to send the message that concerns are heard, taken seriously, and followed-up on within a timely manner. Your internal investigation processes, as part of your compliance program, to get credit from the DOJ as your process deemed effective it should be designed to uncover wrongdoing and expose individuals rooting back to criminal behavior. Keith Read. Investigations are covered by the Acas Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures, which is the minimum a workplace must follow. Increasingly, best practice companies are operating a … Unfortunately we cannot respond to individual requests for information. The respondent and the complainant will be highly anxious about the outcome and their future. For workplace investigations, interviews are crucial to a fair outcome. Best Practice: Hierarchy of Disclosure. If you feel bullied, there is very little likelihood of an investigation outcome being conclusively in your favour. The next thing you know, you and your company are being criticized and scrutinized in the news and in the public. Coronavirus (COVID-19): latest advice for employers and employees. This could risk legal action. A poor workplace investigation can leave a path of destruction with a trail of bodies. Select the statement you most agree with: This is our beta website. Insight 1: Balance the Pros and Cons of the Status Quo Historically, many companies have taken the approach described above: an annualized total number of cases, often described along the lines of “dismissals and resignations for ethical breaches.”  The number is invariably lost in a much wider report (often CSR) and although this approach has the advantage of minimizing risk to the company, it has a clear disadvantage that much compliance-related opportunity is lost. Step 5: What happens after an investigation, Acas Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures, Acas training on conducting investigations, Download the Acas guide to conducting workplace investigations (PDF, 379KB, 36 pages), Step 1: Deciding if there needs to be an investigation, help the employer to see what should happen next, the issue can be resolved informally instead. Supporting mental health in the workplace; Using occupational health at work; Dealing with workplace problems. This can also lay the ground for periodic reminders going forward. Often handled poorly, they can lead to disastrous long-term effects across a whole organisation and mental illness for the people involved. However, HSE cannot investigate or prosecute individual or corporate manslaughter, or any other criminal offences outside its health and safety remit. As this is a likely possible outcome, it is important to make sure that any workplace investigations are determined according to the minimum standard on which the court will rely. Respondents are as much at risk as complainants. Recent cases have flagged how a workplace investigation can sometimes be damaging to the wellbeing of the participant[1]. If you need help, call our helpline on 0300 123 1190, Investigations for discipline and grievance: step by step, Please tell us why the information did not help, Supporting mental health in the workplace, Dealing with a problem raised by an employee, I cannot find the information I'm looking for. Addressing the elephant in the room Even if you cannot share certain information with all employees, it’s important for them to know where an investigation stands, especially, when multiple people are subjects to an investigation or interviewed through the course of an investigation. First on their agenda is setting a new strategy to be more open with employees so they understand there is a thorough process in place during investigations that allows them to become involved either in a support function or (unfortunately) as the subject of one. Acas templates for a disciplinary or grievance investigation plan and a disciplinary or grievance investigation report. Although reporting the findings of your investigation to the respondent and/or the complainant may involve giving bad news, having difficult conversations or managing conflict, do not delay giving the news. This follow-up conversation also allows for management to re-emphasize appreciation for employees who bring forth concerns and encourage future reporting to ensure everyone can experience a healthy, happy work environment. Get as granular with the information as you can when you are meeting with each individual to encourage communication and open dialogue. A high level summary of the outcomes is best to avoid creating further tension in the workplace and to reduce the risk of victimization of witnesses. If you have been accused of bullying, there is little chance of an investigation ‘clearing your name’. Free to download and use. By creating a follow-up strategy that includes follow-up meetings with all people involved will keep the lines of communication open, contribute to the trust factor and take away any suspicion that you may be hiding any information. Share via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Email. Performed poorly, they can lead to serious consequences for a company, including substantial damage, back pay awards or even full reinstatement of an employee. The Enforcement Policy Statement(PDF)- Portable Document Format emphasises the serious nature of any death resulting from work activities. The employee’s plan backfired when they were highly criticized in the court of public opinion. Insight 3: Promote Processes to Get the Right Message Out to the Right Employees Many companies remind employees from time to time that there are governance processes, such as grievance, whistleblower and disciplinary, which might involve either a support or subject role (as described in the scenario above). We are on a mission to drive ethics to the center of business for a better world. Do not provide copies of the investigation report to the parties unless your policy requires this. If a disciplinary or grievance case reaches an employment tribunal, judges will look at whether the employer has followed the Acas Code of Practice in a fair way. This is known as an ‘investigation’. Improper Evidence Collection and Analysis. 5 Insights on Sharing Investigation Outcomes with Employees, Unacceptable hospitality to procurement officers, Develop general investigations procedures before a crisis hits and incorporate it into your compliance program, Create an in-house investigations playbook designed to uncover wrongdoing, Build in “What to Report to Employees” and “What to report to the Government” section using the insights provided above. Insight 4: More Granular Reporting Using the Hierarchy of Disclosures means you report cases on a more granular and/or relevant basis such as: These would be anonymized to varying degrees, but often they would be less anonymized where there is an egregious case, or when you are trying to get a key message across. The investigation is an important part of this. You can view the archived version of this advice on The National Archives website. Confidentiality requirements must not leave parties isolated. Your workplace might have its own policy or procedure. You can get Acas training on conducting investigations for disciplinary or grievance cases. Keep the DOJ Top-of-Mind While we are on the topic of internal investigations, it’s worth it to mention the recent impetus by the DOJ on what they define as a “high-quality internal investigation.”. Pages are being tested and improved. Product announcements, speaker videos and more ethical inspiration. Share via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Email. You tell the new team member that reporting investigations to the employees currently is comprised solely of the number of overall cases in the annual report. In some instances, as the Federal Court recently held, they can be unlawful. Your workplace might have its own policy or procedure. Compliance Covenant: A similar approach taken from the armed forces, enables you to get the message out about the importance of compliance, what is required of employees and what could happen if they fail to meet the requirements. [Insert name] 1 Rubin and Thomlinson, Human Resources Guide to Workplace Investigations (Canada Law Book: Aurora, 2006) at 205 to 206. What reporting details should employees know without putting the company at risk with confidential information being leaked to the media or competitors? “I wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone at … Insight 5: Establish Thorough Investigation and Legal Processes Establish thorough investigation and legal processes, and based on these processes, you can take the decision that given the greater good that would be served you are prepared to take the public domain risk.