Independent Investigations

Appointing an investigator

Sometimes an employer needs to investigate a problem in the workplace. If the employer thinks an independent investigator is required, then that person should ideally be someone who understands employment law and who is regarded by all parties as suitably qualified and independent.  For that reason, employment lawyers are often appointed to
conduct workplace investigations.

An independent investigation is usually the quickest and cheapest option for an employer who, for example, receives a complaint of bullying or harassment, or where an employee appears to be disrupting the workplace, or where the employer needs to know the truth of a situation. The employer needs an efficient resolution of the issue so the business can get on with business.  

Appointing me as investigator

When I am appointed investigator, I focus on getting to the nub of the issues quickly. I will provide an estimate (or quote, as requested) and, as soon as I get the 'go-ahead', I will promptly and discreetly interview relevant witnesses. After careful consideration of the evidence and circumstances I  will produce a clear, concise and objective Investigation Report which will contain solid findings and observations that the employer can act on.

While I have been an employment lawyer for more than 25 years, for ten of those years I was also a part-time Member of the Refugee Status Appeals Authority. In this role, I investigated asylum claims and wrote numerous published decisions. This adjudication role honed my report writing skills.


The cost of an investigation

It goes without saying that the employer is in business to make a profit. The scope and cost of an independent investigation must therefore be proportionate to the size of the business and the size of the problem which the investigation is to solve.

Some investigations are relatively informal and are completed within a couple of days. Other investigations must be more rigorous and robust with all conclusions expressly justified by reasons and evidence.  

It is fair to say that the cost of an Independent Investigation and Report is usually within a range of $5,000 to $15,000 (plus GST).  If the investigation process and report are sound, the parties are more likely to accept the investigator's conclusions and less likely to pursue grievances or other litigation.

For legal and strategic advice about whether an independent investigation is called for, and an estimate of costs, pick up the phone or email Workplace Law.

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