AUCKLAND: MONDAY 21 SEPTEMBER 2020
WELLINGTON: WEDNESDAY 23 SEPTEMBER 2020
Registration & welcome coffee: 8:20am | Course duration: 9am - 4:30pm, including networking breaks
When allegations of sexual or racial harassment, discrimination, bullying or other serious wrongdoing or incompatibility are made, a timely and robust investigation by an experience investigator is key to achieving a fair resolution for all parties involved.
This workshop will take an in-depth look at unique factors influencing investigations - the seriousness of allegations, complexities of complaints, and consequences of failing to investigate. Then, how do you conduct an investigation, determine scope, ensure appropriate terms of reference are defined and adhered to, and set expectations of people involved in investigation processes. Additionally you, as the investigator, need to ensure the investigation is procedurally fair, that independence is assured, that there is transparency, standards of proof, and that evidence is dealt with appropriately.
Be sure to attend this workshop Workplace Investigations Masterclass - an interactive training course which will help you unravel the complexities of workplace investigations.
PLANNING AND PREPARING FOR THE INVESTIGATION
Procedural fairness and the regulatory framework
- Ensuring procedural fairness, independence, transparency, and standards of proof
- Gain an overview of the practical implications of key legislation (including the Employment Relations Act, Human Rights Act, Privacy Act, Health and Safety at Work Act, Protected Disclosures Act and Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015)
Preliminary issues to consider
- Reviewing factors influencing whether an investigation should be undertaken - assessing seriousness of allegations, complexities of complaints, and consequences of failing to investigate
- Assessing when a formal investigation is appropriate
- Determining other suitable legally acceptable avenues for conflict resolution
- Identifying an investigator - internal or external?
- Legal professional privilege
- Ascertaining the purpose and scope of the investigation
- Timeframe for investigations
THE INVESTIGATION PROCESS
Conducting an effective investigation process
- Planning - the importance of not over complicating investigations
- What should the Terms of Reference cover, and who should prepare them?
- Evidence gathering prior to interviews
- Deciding who to interview and in what order
- Designing an effective questions framework
- Setting expectations of people involved
- Ensuring complainant and witness anonymity
- Record keeping and confidentiality
- Investigative interview techniques and style - balancing sensitivity with the need to ensure robust investigation
Managing difficult issues in investigations
- Dealing with conflicts of interest
- Sick/stress leave
- Handling requests for anonymity and silence
- Parallel criminal investigations (Police reporting, the rights to silence and against self-incrimination)
- Handling information requests
- Managing difficult representatives
- Maintaining independence
Case law reviews
- When investigations go right, when they go wrong, and what we can learn from the outcomes
FINALISING THE INVESTIGATION AND NEXT STEPS
- Evaluating the evidence
- Dealing with the evidence
- Tips on how to make well-reasoned findings of fact, assessments of credibility and determining whether factual findings meet relevant legal definitions such as for bullying, sexual or racial harassment, or discrimination under legislative definitions, policies and/or case law
- What should and shouldn't a report contain?
- Producing a report that will withstand external scrutiny and challenge
- What information do you need to provide to the respondent, complainant, witnesses?
- Evaluating likely outcomes of the investigation process
This training is facilitated by:
Matthew Piper, Senior Associate, Simpson Grierson
Mike Mercer, Senior Solicitor, Simpson Grierson
Matthew and Mike are senior members of Simpson Grierson's employment law team. They have experience advising on a broad range of issues which can lead to workplace investigations - including disciplinary and performance matters, allegations of sexual harassment and bullying and other workplace conduct and culture issues. They provide timely, commercial and pragmatic advice on employment law issues to Simpson Grierson's clients in a range of sectors.