Vince Scopelliti's Blog (147)

Performance Management vs Bullying: Where's the Line?

Employers often face a quandary in dealing with underperformers, and whether to place them onto a performance management program. 

It's essential that any such move can always be considered to be 'reasonable management action' in response to inappropriate behaviours or inadequate or unsatisfactory…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on June 12, 2019 at 13:48 — No Comments

What Should You Include in a Whistleblower Policy?

Whistleblower protections have been top of mind for many Australian organisations recently, following a number of changes to the law. 

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistle-Blower Protections) Bill 2017 is due to come into effect from July…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on June 5, 2019 at 11:15 — No Comments

How to Deal with an Uncooperative Respondent

When conducting investigations in the workplace, senior staff and human resource managers often have to deal with uncooperative respondents. 

Understandably, this can significantly hamper the progress of the investigation. 

WHAT IS AN UNCOOPERATIVE RESPONDENT

There are many ways in which the smooth running of an investigation can be negatively affected…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on May 29, 2019 at 11:12 — No Comments

Can Employers Investigate if Complainants Ask Them Not To?

One of the more difficult aspects of managing an employment relationship is appropriately dealing with complaints, both from the perspective of the complainant and the accused. This is made even more complicated when a reluctant complainant brings something to the attention of Human Resources or management, then does not want it investigated. 

We examine why a complainant might not want to take an issue further, and…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on May 22, 2019 at 17:23 — No Comments

Workplace Bullying: Observations from Our Investigators

Like schoolyard bullying, workplace bullying is far from a new phenomenon. When people who may not have much in common outside work are thrust together on a daily basis, there are bound to be disputes, friction and potentially even outright hostility. 

Of course, any serious matters need to be dealt with by conducting a thorough workplace investigation. Recently, our investigators have noticed a number of trends in…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on May 15, 2019 at 11:09 — No Comments

Sharing Information After a Workplace Investigation

For employers, the completion of a workplace investigation can feel like the end of a marathon. The relevant issues have been aired and discussed, a report delivered and decisions made. However, it is also important to effectively share relevant information with affected parties and the broader organisation as the investigation process draws to a close. 

It is likely that employees and other stakeholders affected by…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on May 8, 2019 at 13:30 — No Comments

Substantiating Claims of Reportable Conduct

It is one of society's great shames that our most vulnerable individuals are often open to abuse by those entrusted with their care. However, it is somewhat edifying to know that stringent legal and regulatory measures are in place in Australia to ensure that employers and others act quickly when allegations arise of abuse in care. 

In the case of issues involving children, organisations such as the Ombudsman mandate…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on May 1, 2019 at 12:30 — No Comments

The Privacy Act: Implications for Workplace Investigators

There can be many questions, fears and insecurities that arise in the course of a workplace investigation. Experienced investigators are often asked by witnesses and other staff to divulge what has been said and by whom. This is unsurprising; after all, for one or more people their reputation and/or job could be on the line as a result of accusations made. 

Workplace investigators must take care when dealing with the…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on April 24, 2019 at 13:11 — No Comments

The Right Mix: Professionalism, Impartiality and Empathy

When conducting a workplace investigation, it is essential that there is consideration given to maintaining an appropriate balance between professionalism, impartiality and empathy. 

By ensuring that this balance is maintained, employers are best able to protect the interests of staff, and safeguard against allegations…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on April 17, 2019 at 13:00 — No Comments

Legal Professional Privilege and Workplace Investigations

When a workplace investigation is required, there may occasionally be good reason to seek legal professional privilege regarding the findings. This is particularly the case in matters that may require criminal investigation, such as fraud, theft or sexual harassment. 

So, is it sufficient to engage a law firm when undertaking workplace investigation if you wish to attract legal professional privilege? We take a look…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on April 10, 2019 at 11:29 — No Comments

When to Use an External Investigator

Using in-house resources to sort out organisational problems certainly makes a lot of sense. HR departments tend to be well equipped to receive and manage internal complaints, facilitating solutions as they go. 

But while sourcing external assistance can seem unnecessary, there are certain serious workplace situations where calling in specialist investigative expertise will be the preferable solution.  …

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on April 3, 2019 at 6:00 — No Comments

How to Take Action when Employees and Alcohol Mix

Alcohol and workplaces never mix well. No matter the sort of work they do, employees should not be in the workplace when they are under the influence or still suffering the effects of alcohol consumption. This includes drinking at work or immediately before starting work, and those who are still impacted by a big night out. 

So what steps should an employer take when dealing with a worker who they suspect is…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on March 27, 2019 at 12:18 — No Comments

The Legality of Recording Conversations

How many times have you wished you had a record of a conversation? Perhaps you would have liked evidence of what was said, or you would have appreciated being able to play a conversation back for training purposes. 

Whatever the reason, we examine the legality of recording conversations in Australia. 

WHEN CAN YOU RECORD A CONVERSATION?

The legality of…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on March 21, 2019 at 11:39 — No Comments

Gender Equality: How to Create a Win-Win in the Workplace

It can seem unbelievable that gender inequality persists in Australian workplaces in 2019. As well as the obvious human rights issues, some employers and managers fail to comprehend that a lack of gender equality can have measurable negative consequences for the organisation as a whole. 

Let's examine some of the alarming statistics around the situation for women in the workplace, the benefits of championing gender…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on March 13, 2019 at 14:00 — No Comments

Signed Statements vs Affidavits in Workplace Investigations

When conducting a workplace investigation, it is important that supporting evidence is collected in order to ensure that any decisions can be backed up, particularly in the event of legal proceedings.

We examine the merits of recording evidence in a signed statement versus an affidavit.

WHAT IS A SIGNED STATEMENT?  …

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on March 6, 2019 at 16:24 — No Comments

Bringing an Employee Back from Suspension

It can seem as though the difficult part of a workplace investigation is dealt with by undergoing the investigative process, and making a decision as to how to deal with the employee. But the aftermath of an investigation, for example bringing an employee back into the workplace fold after a suspension, can be equally difficult. 

We examine what an employer should know, and do, in such a situation.…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on February 27, 2019 at 10:09 — No Comments

When to Suspend an Employee During an Investigation

One of the most difficult aspects of a workplace investigation is the moment when the investigator or employer realises the immediate suspension of an employee is required. 

We examine the warning signs that a suspension might be necessary, as well as the best way to handle this complex eventuality.

THE WHAT AND WHY OF SUSPENSION

Most investigations…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on February 20, 2019 at 8:30 — No Comments

Briginshaw Applied: Weighing Up The Evidence

For those involved in workplace investigations, one court case seems to be of central importance - Briginshaw v Briginshaw. Interestingly, this 1938 case is actually about alleged adultery in the context of divorce! So the question immediately arises - why do the concepts in Briginshaw seem to hold sway in…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on February 13, 2019 at 10:10 — No Comments

Why Counter Allegations Must Be Investigated

In the usual course of workplace investigations, it is often one person's word against another's. This is particularly the case when a serious allegation such as sexual misconduct has been made, and there are unlikely to be any witnesses to the event. 

When a serious allegation has been made, often the 'accused' then makes their own claims against the accuser, resulting in cross and counter-allegations.…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on February 6, 2019 at 9:40 — No Comments

Learning HR Lessons from Real World Cases

In recent years, there have been a number of cases heard in the Fair Work Commission and the courts which have resulted in important practical outcomes and learnings for employers, particularly in the area of workplace bullying. 

Let's take a look at some of these seminal cases.…

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Added by Vince Scopelliti on January 30, 2019 at 15:17 — No Comments

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