My recent experience of disciplinary meetings and investigations has led me to make the following recommendation:
Get your HR consultant to do the investigation.
Why? Because no matter what the circumstance is – whether you’re a manager, you know your business inside and out, or you have the technical knowledge of whatever gross misconduct/misconduct/breach of trust and confidence has occurred – it all comes down to how you set out and link the evidence. Indeed, how to make the right allegations.
Building an organised investigation
Recently, I was confronted with bundles of scanned paperwork, in no specific order (although I was assured it all made sense) and without any indication of how it may or may not relate to the allegations in question.
Of course, this isn’t the ideal basis for an organised investigation. If you have a good investigator, who has asked all the questions (including the ‘obvious’ ones that ‘everyone’ knows) then your disciplining manager should receive:
A pack of papers, properly indexed
A list of allegations relating to the misconducts in the handbook or general employment law
Each allegation summarised and an indication of what the investigator thinks
The nature of each allegation –whether the allegation is a misconduct, gross misconduct etc
A list of the evidence, as per the index, as to where the conclusions for each allegation are drawn from.
All this preparation means that the disciplinary is clear, it’s easy to ask questions, and the employee (who is usually a nervous wreck) is able to properly defend their case.
All this will lead to a fair and reasonable decision – helping to turn a challenging situation into a fair and manageable one, for everyone involved.