In 2017, 48% of workers in Australia experienced workplace harassment that led to investigations. The same report also indicated that 47% had experienced discrimination firsthand. Meanwhile, 56% were witnesses to such misconduct, which necessitated official enquiries. Indeed, workplace investigations are vital to protect businesses. Through it all, you will notice that specific reasons seem to recur in places where such investigations were conducted. Below is some of the misconduct that should always be addressed immediately in the workplace.
Considering that one in twenty Australians battles with substance addiction, there is a chance that you may work with some of these people. In 2019, police investigations revealed that 3.4 million of the population had seen and used some narcotics within a year. Among workers, available data indicated that 35% of those employed in formal sectors had at least one form of addiction. Additionally, the report indicated that workers aged between 18 and 60 years either used these substances for recreational purposes or to cope with stress. No matter what the reason may be, the problem here is how it has affected employers. Usually, when an employee shows signs of addiction, the first step of action taken by the employer is to investigate. If findings confirm the suspicion, the employer may resort to company policy to terminate the appointment or suspend the individual. In a few cases, the suspension is used as a reformative tool to help the said employee seek help.
Threats and assault against others in the workplace
Workplace violence and aggression are two things Australian law frowns upon. Unfortunately, it hasn’t stopped some people in the workplace from going against it. In a 2018 lexology.com report on red collar crime in Australian businesses, 22% of employees admitted to being threatened, bullied, or physically assaulted. Indeed, the statistics indicate that threats and physical altercations in the workplace are not rare occurrences. Indeed, no employer or company wants to be associated with things of this nature. Therefore, an investigation is usually set into motion to get to the bottom of the issue. In some cases, the assaulted employee may engage the services of a criminal defense attorney.
Issues surrounding discrimination in the workplace can be tricky and quite sensitive. However, no matter the specific issue, it is an administrative procedure to ensure that it is thoroughly investigated and settled. Some examples are discrimination based on sex, age, race, disability, parental status, etc. Unfortunately, discrimination complaints cannot be left unattended. That is why most companies find it essential to commence investigations as soon as such complaints are lodged with HR. If left unresolved, issues like that could quickly spiral out of control, and the company risks damage to brand image, customer loss and lawsuits.
According to available data, three out of every five businesses in Australia experiences workplace theft. In other words, the act is more common than people would have imagined. No company would want to leave office theft issues unresolved. It is for this reason that such investigations are started to find the culprit. Most importantly, these investigations help to reveal company loopholes that enable the theft to happen so frequently.
Vandalism and sabotage
Usually, aggrieved employees who had their contracts terminated may continue to hold grudges against the company in question. Unfortunately, vandalism is a reality that some businesses have had to face. Apart from that, sabotage is another issue that seems to be closely associated with vandalism. According to news reports, these two are usually tagged as hate crimes carried out by aggrieved employees. The problem here is, sometimes, employees still working for companies may embark on these emotional displays of displeasure, hoping to put their point across. Undoubtedly, vandalism and sabotage are criminal acts. In some instances, investigations may go beyond HR and the disciplinary committee set up to get to the issue’s root. The police may be brought in if the company chooses to do so.
Safety problems leading to workplace injury
When an employee gets injured at the workplace, it could spell substantial financial loss to the company. Additionally, it could spark months and even years of litigation. Regardless of who was at fault, a workplace investigation is a rightful process. It helps the company assess its liabilities and how much compensation should be given to the injured employee.
With a bit of research, you will realise that the above-listed points are pretty common reasons why workplace investigations are started.