An investigation meeting at work can mean many things.
It might mean that a grievance has been raised by an employee which the employer is investigation, or it may be an investigation into disciplinary matters.
Whatever the situation, it’s important to know what your legal rights are.
For example, the person who is conducting the investigation must be fair and objective, obtain balanced evidence from both sides, keep the case confidence, and follow all workplace policies and guidelines.
So, what can you expect in an investigation meeting?
Investigation Meeting Questions
Before we get to the ins and outs of what questions your employer is likely to ask, it’s important to understand the circumstances in which the meeting should take place.
It’s crucial that the investigation is conducted confidentially, which means that the impact of the claim must be considered carefully and any witnesses that are called should be fully aware of the situation.
The complainant should be the first person questioned in the investigation so that the full extent of the claim can be understood before anyone else is involved.
Questioning should take place in a private area so that the investigation remains confidential. Your employer should also explain that taking notes is essential and copies of your workplace policies and guidelines should be made available to you.
While the investigation must be taken seriously, no specific promises should be made at any stage BEFORE a final decision is reached.
Common questions to expect at an investigation meeting for a complainant include:
- What happened?
- Who committed the alleged behaviour?
- Who else may have witnessed the behaviour or incident?
- How has this affected you?
Obviously, a disciplinary investigation meeting will ask different questions, and might involve the interviewer asking you to explain what happened in your own words, letting you speak when you wish to, and will focus on questioning the allegations made against you.
There are many things you should consider when it comes to investigation meetings.
Investigations can vary in length from the shortest (around a day in a best-case scenario) and more complex cases that could take weeks to resolve.
The first thing you should do if you’re invited to an investigation meeting is to check your workplace guidelines and employment contract for details on timescales relating to investigations.
If nothing is outlined, then you should refer to the ACAS guidelines as a baseline.
Any delays to proceedings should be explained by your employer and included in the investigation report. If not, you should query this with your employer.
When it comes to physical evidence, there may be a period allocated to collating evidence.
First, your employer should work out what physical evidence is required, such as:
- Text messages
- Attendance records
- Computer records
Of course, there are other types of physical evidence that might be relevant, but this should give you an idea of the sort of thing to expect.
It’s worth knowing that in any investigation meeting, you have the right to be accompanied by a relevant person. That can be a colleague, adviser, or union representative, just to give a few examples. Some employment contracts might also allow for a solicitor to attend as well.
Reasonable adjustments should be made for employees with disabilities, and if these are not made, you should seek legal advice.
How To Prepare For An Investigation Meeting
Preparing for an investigation can mean several things. The first thing to do should be to understand what it is that is under investigation. If you’re unsure, you should seek clarification from your employer.
Seeking legal advice might be prudent too, particularly if you believe that the investigation may be serious repercussions for yourself, a colleague, or even your employers.
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