If an employee working for you is the subject of a misconduct allegation, it’s essential that as their employer, you carry out an appropriate workplace investigation to help you make an informed decision with respect to what corrective or preventative action to take. However, such an investigation must be carried out professionally, and most importantly, within the confines of the law.
With this in mind, you should also give careful consideration as to who conducts the investigation: should the chosen individual be internal or external? Choosing to hire private investigation services can be an effective way of ensuring that the investigation proceeds quickly and gives you the answers you need, while not violating anyone’s rights. But, the choice is yours.
Whoever you decide to use to conduct your workplace investigation, it’s important that they possess the following qualities:
The investigator must be fair and display impartiality at all times when conducting the investigation. They must not be involved in the complaint in any way, and must not have any kind of relationship with the complainant or the respondent. Not only must the investigator be in a position to assess the complaint objectively, but both parties must consider them to be so, too.
Your chosen investigator must have been trained appropriately for the task at hand, and as such, must have knowledge about legal obligations and workplace policies, along with investigative skills of a practical nature.
A complaint must be promptly investigated, otherwise it can easily lead to the employee filing a human rights complaint, or taking any other kind of legal action they feel they are entitled to. Investigations that aren’t timely can also expose employers to human rights, punitive, or aggravated damages.
In some instances, even if you have an appropriate internal candidate capable of meeting the requirements above, it can still be preferable to hire an external private investigator, and for the reasons below:
If a complaint is complicated and sensitive
It can often be advantageous to hire private investigative services if the complaint in question raises matters that are either complex or sensitive, or both. If the outcome of the investigation is likely to be looked at in some detail by a court or tribunal, choosing an experienced professional investigator is almost always the safest and most effective choice.
When you need expertise
To conduct the investigation thoroughly and within the confines of the law, a private investigator may be beneficial, as they will have the necessary expertise.
If you want to maintain solicitor-client privilege
While a lot will depend on how severe the allegations and potential consequences may be as a result of the investigation, if you want to maintain solicitor-client privilege and not be forced to disclose the final report, a private investigator will be able to provide you with the proper legal advice you need.
When the respondent holds a senior position
Sometimes, complaints are made against senior members of a company, and to maintain fairness and impartiality, a private investigator might be needed to lend added authority and credibility to the findings and recommendations of the workplace investigation.
As you can see, hiring a private investigator in Leeds to help conduct a workplace investigation is often the most sensible choice for a company in terms of protecting everyone involved. It can help employers avoid legal pitfalls that can they can easily fall prey to when an investigation is flawed, and help make sure everything is carried out within the confines of the law.