The presence of bias be it actual or perceived during an investigation can derail the investigation and undermine any findings and recommendations.
Complaint of bias are often raised relating to two areas, the investigation process itself or the investigation interviews.
This article will examine the process, part two will examine bias during interviews.
Workplace investigations are defined as "an unbiased gathering of evidence" and to ensure that that a complaint of bias is not raised or substantiated it is important to follow these rules;
Workplace Investigation biased process actual or perceived is often as a result of an inexperienced investigator who lacks the confidence or competency to understand and carry out the investigative process.
It is important that when all the evidence is gathered to;
Once again bias at this point is also usually as a result of an inexperienced investigator who lacks the confidence or competency to understand the investigative process.
A conflict of interest that could lead to a perception of bias may occur in a number of circumstance including but not limited to;
A complaint of bias as a result of a conflicted of interest (actual, potential or perceived) may be hard to avoid if the matter is conducted internally. This is very common problem faced by HR professionals and managers after all you are part of the organisation, you know the people involved, you may have had previous adverse dealings with the person subject of the complaint or grievance.
Respondent may raise a complaint of bias or conflict of interest if the complaints are substantiated and disciplinary action is taken. Complainants may also raise the issue of bias or a conflict or interest if the outcome is not what they expected or desired
In the case of Fitzpatrick v Bunnings  FWC 1869, the Fair Work Commission found that the employee’s dismissal was unfair, in part because the Company’s choice of investigator created the perception of bias, if not actual bias.
You must be careful when choosing the investigator, if there is no one in your organisation who is suitably qualified, experienced, confident and has the time to conduct the investigation, you may wish to consider appointing an external investigator who has no prior knowledge of the parties and is able to conduct a completely impartial and unbiased investigation. AWPTI can assist - http://awpti.com.au/investigations/
There are other matters to consider when you are appointing an external workplace investigator are addressed in these articles -
Workplace Investigator who do I choose and why?
What to look for in a workplace investigator
What the Fair Work Commission said about outsourcing investigations
Workplace Complaint Investigations - Do it yourself or call in an e...
Workplace Investigation biased process - AWPTI - workplace investigation Sydney and through-out NSW, QLD and Victoria. Workplace training national wide
Misconduct investigations, bullying investigations, harassment investigations & sexual harassment investigations, complaint investigations, grievance investigations, discrimination investigations
Add a Comment