Investigating complaints with staff working from home

Serious workplace issues such as bullying and harassment, misconduct or discrimination should always take urgent priority for a manager. In the current climate during the pandemic, these serious workplace issues can still occur.

With a growing number of employees working from home, employers and HR managers have the additional challenge of taking both their onsite and remote workforce into consideration.

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Remember that workplace investigations must adhere to natural justice principles, confidentiality, rules of evidence, compliance, and health and safety regulations. These standards help to ensure a fair and equitable process for all and allow an organisation to respond with the appropriate action.

There are some predictable challenges of remote workplace investigations that are reasonably straightforward to address, such as planning ahead to ensure your own privacy and mitigate technical issues with videoconferencing, electronic signatures, transferring files, etc.

Other challenges of remote workplace investigations can be more complicated. For example:

🔎 How will you ensure that the interviewee is in a private setting without unauthorised people or recording devices?

🔎 How will you ensure the confidentiality of sensitive documentation?

🔎 How will you obtain and maintain detailed records?

🔎 How will you gather and safeguard physical evidence?

🔎 How will you assess and monitor the remote workplace culture?

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In general, managing staff remotely requires clearer and more explicit communication of expectations and feedback, and more regular check-ins to ensure staff are coping at home.

When it comes to addressing serious issues or complaints, managers who are already stretched to their limits may need to seek support from an experienced and independent workplace investigator.

WorkPlacePLUS conducts workplace investigations of the highest standard via video conferencing technology. We can support you to meet your employer obligations under various legislation such as Fair Work Act and Work, Health & Safety, while you continue to focus on your business. Our experienced HR consultants are trained private investigators.

For more information, please contact us today.

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