Employee Investigations

Disagreements and misunderstandings are part of being human.  

Unfortunately, difficult situations often arise in the workplace and sometimes it is needed for an employer to get involved and solve the issues to restore the peace.  Most of the time, a workplace difficulty can be solved by talking to all the parties involved, but at other times the solutions are not as obvious. 

This is where employee investigations come in. The employer has to conduct an in-depth investigation to understand what happened fully. These investigation correspond with the disciplinary and grievance procedures.

UK law will not tell you how to investigate, but ACAS gives practical advice on how to run disciplinary proceedings fairly and professionally. Employee investigations are generally unpleasant whether you’re the one being investigated or the employer.

When to conduct a formal investigation

An issue should be investigated if internal policy demands it or if the organisation has investigated similar problems in the past.  A complainant can request a formal investigation, but organisations are not required to act on it. However, some companies may choose to investigate all allegations of sexual misconduct or discrimination as a matter of principle.

Deciding on how to deal with an allegation without conducting an investigation can leave companies open to legal claims and reputational risk.  If the issue is serious enough, an employer should complete a full formal investigation.

Why would you need Robertsons Solicitors for your employee investigations

  • The type of investigation. We can help ensure the investigation follows ACAS guidelines.
  • No bias.  If a matter is investigated internally, there could be a perception of discrimination. We can ensure that your employer carried out the investigation fairly.
  • Guidance on what to do next.  We will provide ongoing support for as long as it is needed.

One of our employment law specialists at Robertsons Solicitors can advise you on the best way to proceed. 

Employee Investigations FAQs

According to the ACAS Code, employers should respond as soon as possible to a complaint and investigate as unnecessary delay can cause people to forget or give the perception of an unfair process.

However, there is no set time limit for how long an investigation should take.  It would depend on the number of witnesses that need to be interviewed and the type of information that needs to be gathered.

Potential next steps could include further investigation and writing up an investigation report. Depending on the result of the investigation, disciplinary action against the employee(s) might follow.  This could include warnings, demotion or even dismissal.  The opposite is also true – the investigation could find that the employee was innocent and that others should be implicated.

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