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6 work issues requiring an external investigation

grid of 6 magnifying glasses, in mixed neon colours. Each magnifying glass has a question mark inside.

It is important for organisations to have clear processes for resolving workplace conflict. By following such processes and using internal methods of conflict resolution such as direct communication and restorative discussions, an employer or manager can often resolve workplace issues in a timely and effective manner.

When internal methods of conflict resolution are unsuccessful, or when a work issue requires an unbiased investigation, then the organisation may need to engage an external party such as an experienced and independent workplace investigator.

Six common workplace issues that may require an external investigation include:

  1. Sexual harassment

  2. Bullying

  3. Discrimination

  4. Whistleblower complaints

  5. Fraud or misconduct

  6. Conflicts of interest

Serious workplace incidents or allegations require a prompt response by the employer. This means not only conducting a fair and confidential workplace investigation, but also following a communication plan to discuss the matter with the parties involved, and providing a timeframe for any decisions or potential action.

When dealing with the six common workplace issues mentioned above, an independent workplace investigation is considered best practice for a number of reasons:

Objectivity: Independent workplace investigations provide a neutral and impartial assessment of the workplace issues, which helps to ensure that the findings are fair. The objectivity of the report can also support employers when being approached by WorkCover, unions, the courts, and industry regulators.

Expertise: Independent investigators with specialised HR knowledge and investigative experience can bring sensitivity and understanding to the process, helping to ensure that the findings are accurate, relevant, insightful and timely.

Confidentiality & Reputation: Independent investigators follow strict privacy and confidentiality protocols to protect the privacy of those involved and help maintain the reputation of the organisation.

Compliance: Independent workplace investigations can help organisations ensure they are complying with relevant policies, laws, regulations, and industry standards. This in turn can help mitigate legal or regulatory consequences.

Workplace Harmony: Independent workplace investigations can help to improve workplace relationships by reinforcing the organisation’s commitment to a safe and supportive work environment and reassuring employees that issues will be addressed in a procedurally fair manner. Investigators with HR expertise can support management with recommendations for improvement if required.

WorkPlacePLUS has a qualified team of HR consultants with extensive experience in conducting unbiased evidence-based workplace investigations. We can ensure your compliance with the Fair Work Act 2009, the Respect At Work Act 2022, and Work, Health & Safety regulations while you continue to focus on your day-to-day operations. Our consultants are trained private investigators who remain focused and sensitive throughout the entire process. We can even assist in restoring team harmony and productivity after the investigation.

The team at WorkPlacePLUS delivers independent workplace investigations both in-person and virtually, Australia-wide.

For more information, please contact us today.


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