Workplace Investigations Explained

Gordon Legal are expert employment lawyers in Sydney and Melbourne. Whether you are starting a new job, already working, or have recently departed your employment, Gordon Legal are able to advise you on what your rights and entitlements might be to ensure that you are afforded a fair go and ensure that you are treated according to the Law. Gordon Legal takes pride in the fact its employment lawyers focus on employees and their rights in the workplace and our employment lawyers are experienced in assisting employees faced with workplace investigations or those who are making a complaint.

There is a growing industry for workplace investigators. Once the domain of workers compensation and insurance claims, our experience shows that more and more investigations are being conducted into matters involving disputes in the workplace including disciplinary matters. It might be your manager conducting the investigation, a senior colleague, or an external lawyer but the principles remain the same: get advice early to ensure that you defend your rights whether you are making a workplace complaint, are a witness, or the subject of a complaint.

The scenario is often the same no matter the individuals involved. Someone wishes to make a complaint to their employer and have it investigated. The employer decides to appoint a workplace investigator to get to the bottom of the allegations and make recommendations about what should happen. The investigator comes to you and wants you to make a statement because you either submitted the complaint or are a potential witness? What should you do?

The law will generally impose an obligation to assist your employer to undertake its business and this can include cooperating in the conduct of a workplace investigation. This might mean cooperating with an investigation and answering questions about the issues. But it is not a one way street. Whilst it is always important to understand your obligations it is equally important to assert some of your rights as well. Small things like asking for a support person, seeking the assistance of an interpreter if you are not comfortable with English and making sure that the investigation stays relevant to the issues are areas where you can assert some control over the investigation process and any potential disciplinary action.

A major source of employment dispute that employment lawyers often deal with surrounds what happens during the course of a workplace investigation. Our employment lawyers often see people who have been suspended from work. Sometimes that person has made a complaint and found themselves suspended. Sometimes that person is the one who is responding to a complaint.

Immediate questions arise about whether the suspension is lawful and what should happen during the employment suspension. Can an employer suspend an employee without pay or does the employee have to be paid during the course of an employment suspension? Can an employer suspend them indefinitely pending an investigation? How long should an investigation go for? Should an employee be suspended if they were the one who made the complaint? What happens to the person who is the subject of the complaint?

These are common questions asked and our employment law experience lies in navigating and assisting you to understand your rights and responsibilities in any investigation process. Ordinarily you should not be suspended without pay, the investigation should be conducted efficiently and quickly and you have a right to work in a workplace that is safe. We know from experience that the investigation phase can be traumatic and it is why we encourage persons to proactively assert their rights early and often and our employment lawyers can assist you with this.

What can be done?

Gordon Legal takes pride in assisting employees. We feel that there are basic rights and protections that all employee should be able to enjoy. We adopt a nuanced approach to reflect your individual goals and rights. Gordon Legal are experts in the field whose sole focus is assisting employees with employment law disputes including matters involving suspension, disciplinary and workplace investigations. Contact our friendly team on 1800 21 22 23 to discuss your claim.