A workplace investigation is a very sensitive and critical aspect in an organization. It can conduct a workplace investigation for a number of reasons, not all of which are necessarily criminal in nature. A workplace investigation can take place for any reason ranging from bullying to stalking a colleague to peering into another employee’s mailbox. Whatever the reason; there are some basic rules for workplace investigation.
The most important –an open mind
This should take the number one position among the prerequisites for an effective workplace investigation. Many organizations, in order to prevent partiality, hire an external investigative agency. Whether done internally or externally; the investigator should approach the investigation with an open, disinterested mindset. The adage, “innocent until proven guilty” should be the guiding principle. The investigator should approach the investigation with absolutely no preconceived ideas. Else, it would result in the opposite: “guilty until proven innocent”, and can have grave consequences for the employee who is being investigated.
In conducting the investigation, the investigator should be professional, sticking to time and conducting the investigational interview fairly. He should give equal hearing to all parties concerned, and should be patient with each of them. Further, he should show professionalism in updating every party with information and other feedback in a transparent and honest manner, so that the investigated employee does not feel that a “kangaroo court” did the hearing.
Other factors for the organization
These are qualities the investigator is expected to possess. As far as the organization that wants to conduct the investigation is concerned; it has to take factors like the cost, the experience of the investigator, documentation work for the legal proceedings concerned, the way in which to summon witnesses, the speed of the trial, its impact on employee morale and so on.
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