An investigation will have to be conducted before an official disciplinary verdict has been issued.
A few things you should keep in mind about investigations are:
- An investigation is not part of the disciplinary process and this should be made clear to the employee.
- It only becomes a disciplinary issue once the investigation has been carried out and it has been decided if formal action should be taken.
- The investigation should be carried out by someone who will not ultimately be involved in any disciplinary action.
- As an employer, you should never assume guilt or innocence.
- Legally, an employee does not have the right to be accompanied by a colleague or work representative although it is best to allow representation.
- The investigating officer is appointed to ascertain the facts of the case, and should also interview other staff who may have been involved.
- Formal witness statements should then be prepared and signed by the employee. (Unless the witnesses have agreed to their names being revealed these should be removed).
- If the investigation results in a disciplinary process, the employee needs to be given access to all evidence obtained during the investigation.
- Once completed, the investigating officer should prepare a report summarising the findings.
- The employee will then be informed of the outcome by their line manager. Either there will be no further action or the employee will be invited to a disciplinary hearing.