WORKPLACE BULLYING AND HARASSMENT INVESTIGATIONS

Law 5WHY INVESTIGATE?

Times are changing. Business operators must investigate allegations of workplace bullying and harassment and take decisive action. Those who ignore complaints or fail to deal with them appropriately may find themselves defending costly legal action or being audited and fined by the Fair Work Commission for failing to take appropriate action. Equally, organisations risk losing valuable team members and increasing absentee rates and WorkCover claims.

Dr Ann Wyatt from the School of Risk and Safety Sciences at the University of New South Wales, says employers need to view the safety risk posed by bullying as seriously as they do the dangers of faulty equipment. Health issues associated with bullying include anxiety, depression and post traumatic stress disorder. Employers have an obligation under Workplace Health and Safety laws to ensure they do everything necessary to create a bullying and harassment free workplace.

EXTERNAL Vs INTERNAL INVESTIGATION

When issues of harassment and bullying do arise in your workplace, it is easy to think you can simply handle the matter yourself, keep it in-house and save money. However this approach can be fraught with danger. Kate Southam from CareerOne says it is vital employers appoint third party specialists to investigate bullying allegations. HR personnel often become the ‘meat in the sandwich’ and there may be a perception among the parties that matters may not be dealt with rigorously or impartially. There is also the risk that any disciplinary action such as termination or instant dismissal could leave you legally liable if due process has not been followed.

If issues of harassment and bullying are occurring in your workplace, it is best to hand the problem to an experienced external investigator without delay. At Cloak Investigations we see many cases in which botched internal investigations have ended up costing the employer much more in the long run. Employers can be held vicariously liable for Code of Conduct breaches involving bullying and harassment so it’s important to ensure any complaints are handled meticulously and promptly.

Our experts on the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and the Gold Coast can investigate all Code of Conduct and policy breaches and help you deal with matters correctly according to best practice. We are experienced in dealing with informal and formal complaints relating to Code of Conduct breaches from the factory floor to senior management and Board level. We can also review investigations you’ve conducted internally, providing you with sound advice and ensuring your methodology stands up to external scrutiny.

WHEN TO ENGAGE AN EXTERNAL INVESTIGATOR

Aside from legal compliance requirements, your organisation should be engaging an impartial external investigator as soon as a formal complaint is made if:

HR staff feel uncomfortable about investigating or unable to carry out the process objectively. Those examining the matter should be beyond reproach. There should be no opportunity for the complainant to challenge the objectivity or appropriateness of those investigating.

The complaint cannot be handled objectively, or team members do not have suitable skills or experience.

Senior management personnel are the subject of investigation.

The outcome of the investigation may be subject to external scrutiny.

OUR EXPERT TEAM

We are a highly experienced team of investigators and HR consultants with decades of combined expertise in a range of industry and government sectors. Our people are dedicated to a best practice approach to workplace investigations, bringing impartiality, attention to detail and a proven process to any investigation. Our experienced consultants oversee the investigation and assist in providing sound advice in relation to systemic issues that may have contributed to the problem.

WHY CHOOSE US?

Service Excellence: Every investigation plan differs because every organisation is different. While our methodology might change to suit the matter at hand, our approach to customer service and excellence in service delivery remains the same. We value word of mouth business very highly and strive to maintain an excellent track record when it comes to resolving matters for our clients.

Best Practice Methodology: All our investigations are adhere to Crime and Misconduct Commission guidelines for workplace investigations. All our investigations are conducted in strict adherence to whistleblower protection legislation (Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 Qld), the Public Service Act 2008 (where applicable) and in the context of other legislation and associated organisational policies and procedures, adhering to the National Privacy Principals and the principals of natural justice and due process.

Expertise: Our investigations are conducted under the supervision and counsel of highly experienced HR and industrial law professionals. Our investigators have experience dealing with numerous workplace disputes in an impartial and meticulous fashion.

Confidentiality: We recognise that confidentiality is key in this business. If our clients cannot feel secure in the knowledge that their privacy will be protected, they will go elsewhere. All our investigations are conducted in accordance with our strict privacy policy.

Our skilled workplace bullying and harassment investigations team is waiting to discuss your matter. Contact Us today for an obligation-free quote.

WORKCOVER & SICK LEAVE FRAUD

WorkCover or sick leave fraud can be a frustrating and expensive problem for business owners. For small business in particular, covering for absent staff is difficult enough when the absence is for legitimate reasons without the added worry of malingering employees who abuse their sick leave and fraudulently claim WorkCover entitlements.

Are you worried about malingering employees? Cloak Investigations can save you potentially thousands of dollars. We will investigate suspect staff members and provide a detailed report on their activities. We have a strong track record for this type of investigation and have saved our clients thousands by catching out dishonest staff members. Our Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and Gold Coast experts are available to investigate fraudulent staff sick leave and personal injury claims today.  Contact Us for a free consultation.

UNDERCOVER SURVEILLANCE

Private Investigator undercover surveillanceCloak Investigations surveillance specialists on the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and the Gold Coast have years of experience conducting surveillance operations in a range of circumstances. Generally, surveillance is conducted by trained operatives working in the field to obtain photographic and/or video evidence of a person’s activities or through static surveillance devices such as hidden camera’s set up in strategic locations on public property. Every state has differing legislation when it comes to the use of surveillance devices however, in most states, it is illegal to record someone on private property without their knowledge. In Queensland it is lawful to make a covert video or audio recording without a person’s knowledge provided the person recording the conversation is a party to the conversation. The planting of ‘bugs’ in a private residence is unlawful.

Private investigators are subject to privacy laws the same as the average citizen which means we cannot legally obtain surveillance evidence on private property. This extends to the installation of surveillance software (spyware) or the activation of GPS tracking on a person’s personal phone or computer or the installation of GPS tracking devices on a person’s private vehicle. In Queensland, an exception is made in cases where parents wish to monitor the activities of their children under the age of 18 or in a workplace or company-owned work vehicle for the purposes of conducting surveillance on employees. It is generally thought to be good practice however, to inform employees in a general way that they may be subject to covert monitoring at some stage during their employment.

Evidence collected unlawfully is not admissible in court and could lead to criminal charges or civil damages in some cases. That’s why it’s vital to engage a licensed surveillance professional who can advise on the best avenues for collecting the evidence you need.  Contact Us for a free consultation.

Cloak Investigations investigators can also help with:

  • Pre-employment background checks
  • Locating a witness to an accident
  • Witness statements and records of interview
  • Locating debtors
  • Gathering evidence for a legal matter
  • Insurance claims
  • Vandalism and criminal damage
  • Security advice
  • Risk management

…And much more

All our investigative and consultative services come with a detailed report (including photographic, video and other evidence).

WORKPLACE THEFT

Australian Federal Police statistics show that 70 per cent of business fraud losses are from staff and former staff, costing businesses a staggering $1.5 billion every year. The recent collapse of white goods retailer Clive Peeters was exacerbated by employee fraud totalling $20 million.

It is estimated that 80 percent of workplace crime is carried out by employees. This can come in many forms including theft of stock and equipment, embezzlement of funds, false invoicing, theft of cash, false inventory, payroll fraud, computer fraud and intellectual property theft. In reality, experts believe that the true rate of workplace theft is higher than the statistics show because much of it goes undetected indefinitely. If you suspect workplace theft, our investigation consultants on the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and the Gold Coast are available for your free consultation. Contact Us today.

PRE- EMPLOYMENT  BACKGROUND SCREENING

Law 7Cloak Investigatons is your specialist in employee monitoring and background screening. Do you trust your people? When you’re out of sight, are your staff behaving in a trustworthy manner? Does productivity slip, are company policies ignored, does the working day get shorter for some employees when there is no one to monitor them?

Nowadays, with more and more businesses using off-site personnel, the issue of trust for many employers is becoming more of a concern than ever. Our experienced surveillance experts on the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, can employ a range of techniques to find out just what goes on when you’re not around. We can monitor your on-site staff or observe and report on any staff working from home or out on the road.

Our pre-employment background checks are another great way for us to help you get off to a good start, knowing that the person you’re hiring doesn’t have a notorious past. When you know that some employers will promise positive references just to get rid of a bad employee, you know how important it is to delve a little deeper before hiring someone, particularly for a position involving great trust, such as handling the cash or working from home.

If you have concerns about existing staff or you want to make sure you’re adding the right person to your team, give our experienced pre-employment screening and employee monitoring professionals a call to find out how we can help you.