Workplace Bullying & Harassment Investigations
Times are changing. Business operators must investigate allegations of workplace bullying and harassment and take decisive action. Those who ignore complaints or fail to deal with them appropriately may find themselves defending costly legal action or being audited and fined by the Fair Work Commission for failing to take appropriate action. Equally, organisations risk losing valuable team members and increasing absentee rates and WorkCover claims.
Dr Ann Wyatt from the School of Risk and Safety Sciences at the University of New South Wales, says employers need to view the safety risk posed by bullying as seriously as they do the dangers of faulty equipment. Health issues associated with bullying include anxiety, depression and post traumatic stress disorder. Employers have an obligation under Workplace Health and Safety laws to ensure they do everything necessary to create a bullying and harassment free workplace.
EXTERNAL Vs INTERNAL INVESTIGATION
When issues of harassment and bullying do arise in your workplace, it is easy to think you can simply handle the matter yourself, keep it in-house and save money. However this approach can be fraught with danger. Kate Southam from CareerOne says it is vital employers appoint third party specialists to investigate bullying allegations. HR personnel often become the ‘meat in the sandwich’ and there may be a perception among the parties that matters may not be dealt with rigorously or impartially. There is also the risk that any disciplinary action such as termination or instant dismissal could leave you legally liable if due process has not been followed.
If issues of harassment and bullying are occurring in your workplace, it is best to hand the problem to an experienced external investigator without delay. At Cloak Investigations we see many cases in which botched internal investigations have ended up costing the employer much more in the long run. Employers can be held vicariously liable for Code of Conduct breaches involving bullying and harassment so it’s important to ensure any complaints are handled meticulously and promptly.
Our experts on the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and the Gold Coast can investigate all Code of Conduct and policy breaches and help you deal with matters correctly according to best practice. We are experienced in dealing with informal and formal complaints relating to Code of Conduct breaches from the factory floor to senior management and Board level. We can also review investigations you’ve conducted internally, providing you with sound advice and ensuring your methodology stands up to external scrutiny.
WHEN TO ENGAGE AN EXTERNAL INVESTIGATOR
Aside from legal compliance requirements, your organisation should be engaging an impartial external investigator as soon as a formal complaint is made if:
HR staff feel uncomfortable about investigating or unable to carry out the process objectively. Those examining the matter should be beyond reproach. There should be no opportunity for the complainant to challenge the objectivity or appropriateness of those investigating.
The complaint cannot be handled objectively, or team members do not have suitable skills or experience.
Senior management personnel are the subject of investigation.
The outcome of the investigation may be subject to external scrutiny.
OUR EXPERT TEAM
We are a highly experienced team of investigators and HR consultants with decades of combined expertise in a range of industry and government sectors. Our people are dedicated to a best practice approach to workplace investigations, bringing impartiality, attention to detail and a proven process to any investigation. Our experienced consultants oversee the investigation and assist in providing sound advice in relation to systemic issues that may have contributed to the problem.
WHY CHOOSE US?
Service Excellence: Every investigation plan differs because every organisation is different. While our methodology might change to suit the matter at hand, our approach to customer service and excellence in service delivery remains the same. We value word of mouth business very highly and strive to maintain an excellent track record when it comes to resolving matters for our clients.
Best Practice Methodology: All our investigations are adhere to Crime and Misconduct Commission guidelines for workplace investigations. All our investigations are conducted in strict adherence to whistleblower protection legislation (Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 Qld), the Public Service Act 2008 (where applicable) and in the context of other legislation and associated organisational policies and procedures, adhering to the National Privacy Principals and the principals of natural justice and due process.
Expertise: Our investigations are conducted under the supervision and counsel of highly experienced HR and industrial law professionals. Our investigators have experience dealing with numerous workplace disputes in an impartial and meticulous fashion.
Our skilled workplace bullying and harassment investigations team is waiting to discuss your matter. Contact Us today for an obligation-free quote.