Vince Scopelliti's Blog (67)

Professional Distance and Conflict of Interest at Work

During the seventies and eighties, organisations started to realise that the improper use of power and authority and undeclared and/or ineffectively managed conflicts of interest, posed a significant risk to their integrity and public trust. 

The requirement for ethical business dealings focuses the spotlight on conflicts of interests and the factors involved in creating the perception of conflicts…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on September 20, 2017 at 17:00 — No Comments

Document Examiners: When to Make Use of Them

Should the outcome of a workplace investigation be taken on review, the integrity of the evidence, amongst other aspects, will come under scrutiny. 

In cases where documentary evidence is relevant, it can be valuable to present expert evidence or obtain an opinion from a document examiner. 

But as a recent NSW case involving document examination demonstrates, it is also…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on September 14, 2017 at 11:08 — No Comments

Considering Suspending an Employee? What You Should Know

When faced with an allegation of serious misconduct made against a worker, an organisation may seek to suspend the respondent. 

But in what situations is it appropriate to take this kind of action?

THE LEGALITY OF SUSPENSION 

When taking the significant step of temporarily suspending an employee, an organisation must be able to…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on September 6, 2017 at 13:00 — No Comments

Bullying in High Stress Workplaces: Can an Investigation Help?

A disproportionately high number of allegations of bullying in emergency services and other high stress environments have led to a referral to the NSW parliament for an inquiry in May 2017, looking at the policy response to bullying, harassment, and discrimination in certain emergency services. A review is also being conducted…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on August 30, 2017 at 17:32 — No Comments

What Evidence Should Be in a Workplace Investigation Report?

In every workplace, there will eventually be a situation where an investigation needs to be carried out into an employee's compliant or conduct. One of the most crucial aspects of conducting workplace investigations includes preparing an investigation report which can be relied upon for any future purpose, including carrying out and implementing disciplinary action against an employee.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on August 23, 2017 at 14:27 — No Comments

How Can Employers Assist Workers with Acquired Brain Injury?

A decision by the Queensland Court of Appeal highlights why employers must take into account the needs of workers with an acquired brain injury, in order to avoid being considered to have discriminated against them. 

In Chivers v State of Queensland (Queensland Health), the Court of Appeal heard a case pursued by Ms Chivers, who was employed as a registered nurse with Queensland Health (QH). She…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on August 16, 2017 at 7:30 — No Comments

Complaints Management Under the NDIS

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was introduced in mid-2013 to facilitate a support system for disabled Australians. In many ways, this has begun to streamline and simplify the process whereby many thousands of Australians under the age of 65, who have sustained a permanent and residual disability, are able to access healthcare services. But what happens when the system goes wrong and complaints need to be made…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on August 9, 2017 at 7:30 — No Comments

Investigating Allegations of Abuse in Aged Care Facilities

Aged care providers have been in the media spotlight in recent weeks. While some are alleged to have financially exploited the elderly others are alleged to have provided a substandard level of care. Research conducted by Curtin University in 2015 suggests that some 167,000 older Australians may be…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on August 2, 2017 at 13:00 — No Comments

Natural Justice - Privacy and Reliance on Covert Workplace Surveillance

In a recent decision of the Fair Work Commission (FWC), a nurse has been reinstated following her termination in circumstances where covert video surveillance was the 'sole foundation' of allegations against her. The FWC also found that her employer's human resources department acted incorrectly and inappropriately in the circumstances surrounding her dismissal.

FACTS OF THE CASE

Ms…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on July 26, 2017 at 7:00 — No Comments

Performance Management to Avoid Bullying Complaints

Staff who are subject to increased employer supervision or performance management may feel that they are being personally victimised, attacked or even bullied.

It may be difficult to distinguish between reasonable performance management and bullying, especially when the worker involved is sensitive by nature, has personal stress factors, fails to acknowledge their own performance shortcomings or is emotionally…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on July 19, 2017 at 12:31 — 1 Comment

Protecting Whistleblowers During Workplace Investigations

Feedback from employees is crucial to employers wanting to keep their finger on the pulse of a business. It is essential for management to be aware of risky behaviours occurring within a workplace, such as bullying, circumstances giving rise to easily preventable worker's compensation claims, failure to comply with regulations, corruption, or even criminal activities such as embezzlement, theft or fraud. In…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on July 12, 2017 at 13:30 — No Comments

Is Your Complaints Procedure Effective?

Risk management is an important aspect of running a successful business: Whether this takes the form of ensuring compliance with corporate governance programs, reducing instances of workplace fraud or financial misconduct, or eliminating bullying or other forms of harassment. 

Having a strong and coherent whistleblower program in place can help protect your organisation's interests in all of these situations. 

An…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on July 6, 2017 at 14:50 — 1 Comment

How Can HR Support Staff During a Workplace Investigation?

Where a complaint has been made by one staff member against another, and a workplace investigation takes place, all kinds of emotions can be running high. 

People participating in a workplace investigation, whether as complainants, respondents or even witnesses, can suffer symptoms of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, as well as emotional distress. 

Respondents in particular can feel abandoned and cold-shouldered, especially in cases where…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on June 28, 2017 at 17:25 — No Comments

Her Word Against His – Detecting Lies in Interviews

One of the most challenging aspects for employers attempting to deal with workplace bullying or misconduct is getting to the truth of allegations, especially in circumstances where the apparent victim's version of events contradicts that of the alleged bully.

Most of the time, this disparity can be put down to differences of opinion or misinterpretation of…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on May 17, 2017 at 21:00 — No Comments

Child Sexual Exploitation & Trafficking Conference Insights

A wrap-up of the Children, Justice and Communication Conference at Portsmouth University, May 2017.

Last week, I had the privilege of attending the Children, Justice and Communication Conference at Portsmouth in the UK. 

The conference is hosted by some of the world’s leading academics and practitioners working in the areas of child sexual exploitation,…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on May 10, 2017 at 20:30 — No Comments

So You've Been Accused of Bullying - What Now?

The issue of workplace bullying is much more openly discussed these days, and most employees are aware that they can make a formal complaint to their employers and have the matter investigated – with appropriate resolution to follow.

But what happens if you are not the victim, but instead have been accused of being the bully?

How to deal with an overwhelming…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on May 3, 2017 at 1:00 — 1 Comment

Witness Statements Protected in Australia Post FOI Bid

A recent decision of the Australian Information Commissioner has confirmed that certain categories of internal documents cannot generally be forced to be the subject of a disclosure process.

The decision, which was handed down by Commissioner Tim Pilgrim on April 5, 2017, arose from a refusal by Australia Post to produce documents to a former employee, identified for the purpose of…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on April 26, 2017 at 13:00 — No Comments

A Perplexing Problem: Protecting Children Overseas

Every year billions of Australian dollars are provided to fund aid projects overseas. The money is targeted to assist developing countries with education, housing, health and community projects. Naturally children are a prime target group for these aid programs.  The majority of these organisations are funded by the Australian public via donations and government funding provided…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on April 20, 2017 at 11:30 — No Comments

Building Rapport in Investigative Interviews

All workplaces are at risk of allegations of bullying, harassment, discrimination or other claims of misconduct or inappropriate dealings. As such, all employers must be prepared to conduct investigative interviews to determine the veracity and accuracy of any allegations made against or by one or more of their employees.

Apart from properly eliciting the facts, perhaps the most…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on April 12, 2017 at 19:00 — No Comments

Bullying: What's the Role of Leadership?

Workplace bullying is somewhat of a scourge in modern society. Broadly categorised by Reach Out Australia as any behaviour which is physically, mentally or socially threatening and takes place in the employment context, it can have an enormous impact on staff effectiveness, employee retention, the number and type of worker's…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on April 5, 2017 at 8:30 — No Comments

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