If your employer has suspended you, it is important to know what your rights are and what you can do. If an employer has suspended an employee, a workplace investigation often takes place.
What is workplace research?
A workplace investigation is a process in which employers make complaints, possible
serious conflicts or allegations of workplace misconduct. By conducting thorough workplace surveys, your employees show that you respect them and their rights, leading to a better organizational culture in which employees are engaged and motivated to work for the good of the organization.
If you are suspended, you are entitled to a fair investigation that is conducted properly and professionally. It is important to make an objective assessment of the cases or facts presented. In some cases, the employer may want to engage a third-party independent investigator for more serious allegations.
Purpose of a workplace survey
The purpose of a workplace investigation is to get to the bottom of what happened and to determine whether alleged events have occurred. To do this, an employer must collect evidence, such as statements or documents, regarding the allegation or matter. This evidence is then used to determine whether there is enough evidence to prove allegations.
Employee rights in a workplace survey
1. Awareness of Accusations
After an investigation has been launched into a suspended employee, the employee has the right to make the allegations known to him. In general, the employer must present the allegations to the employee in writing or sufficiently in advance for the allegations to be considered prior to a meeting at which the allegations will be discussed.
2. Ability to Respond to Accusations
The employer must articulate exactly what the allegations are, present them to the employee and give the employee the opportunity to respond to the allegations. This response is mainly given in a formal sit-down meeting, where the employee can bring a supervisor along. However, this support person does not have to be a legal representative and in most cases your employer cannot agree that you have a legal representative at these disciplinary meetings.
3. Defense Against Accusations
In this interview, the employee has the right to argue his or her case by defending or explaining the allegations made. Not only does the employee have the right to defend the allegations, but the employee’s response or defense must also be considered and seriously considered by the employer.
The employer cannot present the allegations to the employee and ask them to respond, assuming that they are already guilty and so whatever they say will not change the outcome. This is especially important if the employer is considering firing the employee.
The employer cannot terminate the termination with premeditation without due consideration of the employee’s response or defense. This may be grounds for unfair dismissal; in which it will appear that the employee has not been awarded procedural justice.
After being given the opportunity to respond, the employee has the right to have the employer consider these responses and take the time to reassess whether the allegations are justified in light of the new information. Once an employer has considered all of the evidence in front of him, he must make a decision as to whether any of the allegations are well founded.
4. Show cause
If the allegations are true and the employer is considering terminating employment, the employee has the right to plead his case and demonstrate why the employment should not be terminated. This should be done in an extra meeting.
In this interview, the employer must communicate to the employee that his job is at stake and that dismissal is being seriously considered. Once this has been communicated to the employee, he has the right to prove the cause and demonstrate why he should not be terminated.
This may include highlighting their loyal and dedicated service, all the good they have done for the company thus far, the effect the termination will have on their reputation and economic status, and how they intend to improve if they get a second chance.
Employer’s rights in a workplace survey
After the show cause meeting has been conducted, the employer must decide whether to proceed with the termination of the employee or whether the employee has given reasons why the employment should not be terminated.
The penalty for any misconduct after an investigation has been conducted must be proportionate to the alleged misconduct or poor performance. Even if there is substantial evidence to substantiate an allegation, being fired can be a harsh response in the context of the employee’s employment or previous unblemished employment history.
The employer must therefore carefully weigh the matters before him and what punishment is appropriate, if any.
Employee rights after workplace investigation
If an employee is not satisfied with the outcome, the employee may challenge the findings by filing a claim for unfair dismissal in the Fair Work Commission† Employees often involve a workplace specialist to act on their behalf, especially in workplace investigation cases.
How to submit a wrongful dismissal request?
The outcome of a workplace investigation may lead to dismissal. If you, as an employee, still believe that you have been unfairly dismissed from your workplace after completing the workplace investigation, you can submit a request for unfair dismissal by filling in Form F2 and email it to the Fair Work Commission at: [email protected]taking into account that processing may be slower than expected due to COVID-19.
You can also fax or mail form F2 to your nearest Commission office to you.
Remember that the crucial things to remember when you are part of a workplace survey is to stay calm and know your rights. Only when you fully understand your rights as an employee and make the best use of them, you will be confident enough to handle everything properly. In addition, it is important to know that a workplace survey is not the dernier resort and you can certainly bring your case to the FWC.
It is also beneficial to improve your workplace conflict negotiation and interpersonal skills in handling conflict in the workplace.
Gary Pinchen, director of A Whole New Approach, has been featured as a commentator on industrial relations and labor rights on: A Current Affair, Today Tonight, Cosmopolitan Australia, Radio 2GB and Workplace Express. View everything here† He only works with employees, not employers.