Understanding how to conduct a thorough workplace investigation regarding a specific employee or incident is important when it comes to running the human resources aspect of any business. Findings from any investigation must be documented clearly in a confidential report to ensure the investigation and any outcomes are appropriately handled.
What Is A Workplace Investigation Report?
A workplace investigation report is a document that summarizes the factual information discovered during an investigation into an incident or issue in the workplace.
The report typically includes a description of the incident or issue being investigated, the methods used to conduct the investigation, and a summary of the findings and conclusions. It may also include recommendations for corrective action, if appropriate.
A workplace investigation report is often used to document the investigation process and ensure that all relevant information is properly recorded. It can also serve as a basis for making decisions about disciplinary action, policy changes, or other necessary steps to address the issues identified in the investigation.
How To Format A Workplace Investigation Report
The content and format of a comprehensive report may vary depending on the nature of the incident being investigated, the policies and procedures of the organization, and any legal or regulatory requirements that may apply. However, a typical workplace investigation report will include the key facts and results of the investigation, as well as an executive summary and recommendations that are reached as a result of the investigation.
What Are The Primary Components Of A Workplace Investigation Report?
The primary components of a workplace investigation report typically include:
The introduction should provide background information about the investigation, including the reason for the investigation and the scope of the investigation. This section may also include a brief overview of the organization’s policies and procedures related to the issue being investigated.
The methodology section should describe the steps taken during the investigation, including any interviews conducted, documents reviewed, and evidence collected. This section should also include information about who was interviewed and any limitations or challenges encountered during the investigation.
The findings section should summarize the information gathered during the investigation, including any relevant facts, evidence, or witness statements. This section should also include a description of any patterns or trends that were observed and any conclusions that were reached based on the evidence gathered.
The analysis section should provide a detailed analysis of the findings, including any relevant legal or policy considerations. This section should also provide an assessment of the credibility of the evidence gathered and any potential explanations or mitigating factors that may impact the findings.
The recommendations section should outline any actions that should be taken as a result of the investigation, including any disciplinary actions, changes to policies or procedures, final conclusions, or future recommendations for further investigation or training.
The conclusion should summarize the key findings and recommendations of the investigation and provide a final analysis of the issue being investigated.
The appendices may include any additional documents, evidence, or other materials relevant to the investigation, such as interview transcripts, photographs or a relevant drug test. Any appendices should be made available as a part of the final report.
Overall, the primary components of a workplace investigation report should provide a comprehensive and objective summary of the facts and findings of the investigation, as well as any recommended actions or conclusions that may be necessary to address the issues identified.
What Questions Should Be Asked During A Workplace Investigation?
During a workplace investigation, it is important to ask relevant and open-ended questions to gather information and evidence about the incident or issue being investigated. Some questions that may be asked during a workplace investigation include:
- What happened?
- Ask the individuals involved to describe the incident or issue in detail, including who was involved, what occurred, and when and where it happened.
- Who witnessed the incident?
- Ask for the names of anyone who may have seen or heard what happened and ask them to describe what they observed.
- Are there any documents or physical evidence related to the incident?
- Ask if there are any documents or physical evidence that may be relevant to the investigation, such as emails, text messages, or surveillance footage.
- Have there been any similar incidents in the past?
- Ask if there have been any similar incidents in the past and if there are any patterns or trends that may be relevant to the current investigation.
- What impact has the incident had on the individuals involved and the workplace as a whole?
- Ask about the impact that the incident has had on the individuals involved and the workplace, including any emotional or physical harm, loss of productivity, or damage to the company’s reputation.
- Is there anyone else who may have relevant information or evidence?
- Ask if there are any other individuals who may have relevant information or evidence that should be considered in the investigation.
- What policies and procedures are in place related to the incident?
- Ask about the organization’s policies and procedures related to the incident, including any relevant training or guidance provided to employees.
It is important to ask questions in a non-judgmental and non-biased manner and to be open to all perspectives and information provided. It may also be helpful to ask follow-up questions or to seek clarification if necessary to ensure a thorough and objective investigation.
Who Should Conduct A Workplace Investigation?
The person or department that typically handles a workplace investigation can vary depending on the size and structure of the organization, the nature of the investigation, and the applicable laws and policies.
Internal Investigation Teams
In general, larger organizations may have an internal investigation team through the human resources department or a dedicated workplace investigator that is responsible for conducting workplace investigations. Smaller organizations may have the owner or manager handle investigations themselves.
In some cases, companies may hire an external investigator or a law firm to conduct an independent investigation, especially if the matter involves serious allegations or potential legal implications. Sexual harassment and accusations of a violation of federal employment laws are good examples of allegations that should likely be investigated by an external or private investigator.
Certain types of investigations, such as those related to discrimination, harassment, or safety concerns, may need to involve an outside investigator with specific experience or external experts to ensure the investigation is thorough and unbiased.
How To Conduct An Employee Workplace Investigation
Conducting a workplace investigation can be a complex process, and it is important to follow appropriate procedures to ensure that the investigation is thorough, fair, and objective. Here are some general steps that can be followed when conducting an employee workplace investigation:
- Determine the scope of the investigation: Before starting an investigation, it is important to identify the scope of the investigation, including the issues to be investigated, the relevant parties to be interviewed, and the evidence that needs to be collected.
- Select an investigator: It is important to choose an investigator who is neutral, has an open mind, and has the necessary skills and expertise to conduct the investigation. In some cases, it may be necessary to engage an external investigator to ensure impartiality.
- Notify relevant parties: Once the investigation has been initiated, it is important to notify all relevant parties, including the complainant, the accused, and any witnesses, of the investigation process, their rights and obligations, and the consequences of providing false information. If it was an anonymous report, take additional steps to ensure such information is not revealed to the parties being investigated.
- Gather information and evidence: The investigator should gather relevant information and evidence, including documents, emails, and witness statements, to support the investigation. The investigator should also maintain confidentiality and protect the privacy of all parties involved.
- Analyze the evidence: Once all the evidence has been collected, the investigator should review and analyze it to determine the facts of the case and identify any patterns or trends. If you notice multiple infractions from a certain workplace or department, it is possible you may have a toxic workplace environment that will require some effort to correct.
- Draw conclusions and make recommendations: Based on the evidence collected and analyzed, the investigator should draw conclusions and make recommendations to management regarding any corrective actions that may be necessary. The investigator’s findings should be clearly stated as a summary of the report.
- Communicate findings: The investigator should communicate the findings of the investigation to all relevant parties in a clear, concise, and objective manner. It is also important to maintain appropriate documentation, either as a written report or electronic file, of the investigation process and findings.
Overall, it is important to conduct a workplace investigation with sensitivity, fairness, and objectivity to ensure that all parties are treated with respect and dignity, and to maintain a positive and productive work environment.
What Actions Should Be Taken From A Workplace Investigation Report?
Once a workplace investigation is completed, there are several actions that may need to be taken based on the findings of the investigation. These actions may include:
1. Take Disciplinary Action
If the investigation reveals that an employee has engaged in misconduct or violated company policies, disciplinary action may be necessary. This could include anything from a verbal warning to termination, depending on the severity of the misconduct.
2. Implement Corrective Actions
If the investigation identifies systemic issues or areas where the company’s policies or procedures are inadequate, corrective actions may be necessary. These actions could include revising policies, providing additional training, or making organizational changes to prevent similar issues from occurring in the future.
3. Communicate With Relevant Parties
Depending on the nature of the investigation, it may be necessary to communicate the findings and any resulting actions to employees, customers, or other stakeholders. This could be done through meetings, memos, or other forms of communication.
4. Monitor And Follow-Up
It is important to monitor the situation following the investigation to ensure that any corrective actions are effective and that there are no further issues. This may involve conducting additional training, providing ongoing support by managers and bosses, or making further changes as needed.
Overall, the actions that should be taken following a workplace investigation will depend on the specific circumstances of the case and the recommendations of the investigator. It is important to take prompt and appropriate action to address any issues that are identified and to prevent similar problems from occurring in the future.
Download Your Free Workplace Investigation Report Template
If you manage a small to medium size organization, it is vital to keep records on hand for any relevant workplace reports. A workplace investigation report is an essential tool for properly conducting internal investigations as situations arise.
This downloadable PDF template has all of the basic information you will need to conduct an incident investigation. If possible, utilize your HR department to conduct many aspects of the investigation. If you do not have an HR department, involve a reasonable person in your investigation to help collect evidence and conduct investigation interviews.
With appropriate documentation and due diligence, you can conduct a thorough investigation of a workplace incident and suggest future actions and changes with the help of this free template.
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FREE! Workplace Investigation Report Template