Vince Scopelliti's Blog (169)

Rules of Evidence in Workplace Investigations

Although workplace investigations are not expected to be conducted in the same way as a police investigation, it is essential to keep in mind the principles of evidence which might apply. This is particularly important against a backdrop where many workplace investigations end up in the Fair Work Commission or otherwise in a contentious, litigated setting.

We examine the rules of evidence which should be followed to…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on December 5, 2019 at 8:22 — No Comments

Responding to Bad Behaviour at the Christmas Party

It's no secret that both the good and the bad can be on display at the annual work Christmas party. While smiles and good cheer can and should be the main features at an end-of-year bash, some unfortunate behaviour can also arise. 

Alcohol abuse, sexual harassment and aggressive behaviour are just some of the less savoury possibilities. But despite the instinct to punish personnel who wander astray, it is…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on November 27, 2019 at 11:55 — No Comments

Dealing with Pornography in the Workplace

Unsurprisingly, the access to pornography can be extremely problematic in the workplace. Not only does the access to pornography at work open up a minefield of possible harassment and other sexually motivated complaints, it contributes significantly to presenteeism (where staff are physically present but not concentrating on their jobs).

Indeed, according to a report in the Financial Times, 45% of daily viewers of popular pornography compilation site Pornhub,…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on November 25, 2019 at 11:44 — No Comments

Audio Recording or Written Statements?

Appropriately recording evidence is a crucial part of workplace investigations.

For investigators, this can cause a significant dilemma as to whether it is preferable to rely on written statements, or obtain audio recordings of interviews conducted during the investigation.

Here are a few of the main considerations for each method.

AUDIO…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on November 7, 2019 at 16:45 — No Comments

When a Pre-Determined View Leads to an Unfair Investigation

Procedural fairness must be top of mind, for all organisations when conducting a workplace investigation. Failing to allow an employee sufficient time to respond to an allegation or taking a pre-determined view of the outcome of an investigation, for example, proceeding with terminating employment, can leave an employer open to an unfair dismissal claim. 

The importance of observing all elements of procedural…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on October 31, 2019 at 15:16 — No Comments

How to Prevent Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Unfortunately, dealing with allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace is an issue for many employers. Sexual harassment can take many forms, and cases are rarely "open and shut".

Once allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct have been made, they must be appropriately investigated and dealt with. However, prevention is always better than cure.

Let's take a look at employer…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on October 16, 2019 at 17:00 — No Comments

Supporting Mental Health in the Workplace

Employers understand that it is their responsibility to provide a safe workplace. Yet unlike physical health safety concerns and hazards such as lifting, tripping, sun exposure and dust reduction, many employers find themselves uncertain about how to support the mental health and wellbeing of their staff.

The first and most powerful antidote to this uncertainty is becoming informed. For business owners and managers,…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on October 9, 2019 at 13:48 — No Comments

Outsourcing or In-House Investigations?

For many businesses, one of the critical HR questions is whether investigations into alleged employee misconduct or misbehaviour should be outsourced or conducted in-house.

Depending on the nature of the business and the complaint, it may not always be appropriate or cost-effective for investigations to be referred externally.

However, in other circumstances, particularly when the allegations…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on October 3, 2019 at 17:43 — No Comments

Police Involvement in Workplace Investigations

On occasion, police will become involved and/or need to be involved in the allegations from a workplace matter. In this situation, it's important for employers to know what their obligations are, and to be aware of some of the challenges that can arise. 

So, let's take a look at when police are or may need to be called in and what should happen once they are. 

WHAT MATTERS REQUIRE THE…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on September 25, 2019 at 12:53 — No Comments

Elder Abuse in Care

The most vulnerable members of our society are generally those with disabilities, the very young and the elderly. People who are vulnerable are at greater risk of being abused or otherwise mistreated, especially in residential care facilities. This is currently being made distressingly clear at the aged care Royal Commission. 

We discuss what elder abuse in care looks like, how it can occur and what factors can make…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on September 18, 2019 at 16:44 — No Comments

How to Move Forward After a Workplace Investigation

A workplace investigation can be a traumatic and emotional event for everyone involved. 

Let's take a look at how an organisation can move forward after a workplace investigation, regardless of whether the complaint has been upheld or if any disciplinary action has been taken. 

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN AN INVESTIGATION IS CONCLUDED? 

After the investigative…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on September 11, 2019 at 11:30 — No Comments

How to Deal with Workplace Conflict

Any sphere in which humans interact with each other is likely to involve certain levels of conflict. This is certainly the case in the workplace, where employees are required to spend significant amounts of time with people they may not otherwise choose to be involved with. 

Although workplace conflict is unavoidable, it does need to be dealt with to ensure that staff remain engaged and productive. We take a look at…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on September 4, 2019 at 17:18 — No Comments

How and When to Report Workplace Bullying

Workplace bullying can sometimes be difficult to identify. After all, people from many different walks of life are thrown together in a working environment, and this will often result in personality clashes and natural disagreements. Not everybody in the office will be friends with each other. 

So how can you tell when something has strayed into the area of workplace bullying? And how do you know when to deal with it…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on August 28, 2019 at 11:44 — No Comments

Ruling on Anonymous Social Posts a Warning for Employees

In the highly-anticipated decision of Comcare v Banerji, the High Court has found it is not unconstitutional for the federal government to restrict the rights of public servants to express their political views in a public forum. 

So what does this decision mean for employees, freedom of political communication and the right to free speech? 

THE FACTS OF THE MATTER…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on August 21, 2019 at 11:30 — No Comments

The Role of the Fair Work Commission in Workplace Disputes

There is a high likelihood that every employer will have to deal with action - or at least the threat of action - involving the Fair Work Commission (FWC). 

Let's take a look at the role of the FWC, and the importance of a defensible investigation report in the event an employee lodges a claim. 

WHAT IS THE FWC?

The FWC is Australia's national workplace…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on August 14, 2019 at 11:44 — No Comments

Writing an Investigation Report

To say that a workplace investigation report is an important document is certainly something of an understatement. Following the investigation, the report will be relied upon for all manner of significant organisational decisions, tasks and action. 

As a result, it is essential that workplace investigators create a professional, transparent and unbiased document.

ONE REPORT, MANY…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on July 31, 2019 at 11:13 — No Comments

Interview Techniques for Workplace Investigations

In any workplace investigation, there will be multiple competing factors for an investigator to consider. One core issue is developing the appropriate interview strategy.

Investigative interviewing requires careful consideration of the purpose of the investigation, and exactly who will be interviewed. There is also the question of tone - ensuring that the interview remains cordial and does not begin to resemble an…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on July 24, 2019 at 11:31 — No Comments

How to Write Letters of Notification and Allegation

During the process of conducting workplace investigations, it is generally necessary to prepare letters of notification, and later, letters of allegation. 

We take a look at the difference between the two, and provide some tips on how to prepare these important documents. …

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on July 17, 2019 at 14:06 — No Comments

Creating an Action Plan: ToR and External Investigators

When conducting a workplace investigation, it is crucial to be able to demonstrate that appropriate procedures have been followed. This is essential in defending any subsequent action that may be taken. 

It can be helpful for employers to create an action plan utilising Terms of Reference (ToR) and the services of an external investigator to keep the investigation process on track. 

3…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on July 10, 2019 at 12:22 — No Comments

Receiving Workplace Complaints

Employers should be well aware of the legal and associated requirements that come into play when someone in the workplace raises their hand with a grievance. 

Complaints about unacceptable and/or inappropriate behaviour can arise from any work area, and in regard to a wide variety of issues. Grievance handling needs to be fair and consistent - yet with each situation being approached on an individual basis. …

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on July 3, 2019 at 14:24 — No Comments

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