You are involved in a workplace investigation. You may be named as the complainant, respondent or witness. What should you expect from the investigator? What rights do you have?
Actually, contrary to common misapprehensions, you have many rights. You should expect to be treated with respect, dignity and sensitivity at all times. An investigative process renders all participants with some anxiety (unless they are a robot!). It is natural to feel uncomfortable. Most people don’t like being under question. Stress and anxiety are common reactions. These responses don’t make you appear guilty as people often assume…only human.
Once the process begins, our advice is to make yourself as comfortable as you can in this difficult situation. Get a friend, colleague or union rep to be with you during the interview. Their role won’t be as an advocate for you or to represent you. Their presence is simply to provide you with moral and emotional support.
The investigator isn’t there as a lawyer or judge. In workplace investigations the aim is to find the facts of a circumstance. They are not there to make any judgement. The investigator must merely report the truth. They will try to make you as comfortable as they possibly can. You can request breaks for the bathroom or anything else you may need.
There is no need for concern if you feel you did not make the statement you wanted during the interview. Most interviews are transcribed and you are able to have a copy of this transcription. You are also then able to request another interview to clarify or discuss any points. The investigation is not like a police interview, you are not being interrogated or pressured for a particular response. Investigators are happy to give you more time to talk about what you think and reflect on what you think is important.
All an investigator wants is to collect the facts of the circumstances being investigated. You are not on trial. They want to ensure that any process is procedurally fair and that natural justice to all parties occurs. If you are subject to being part of any investigation, please be assured that at all stages both fairness and your wellbeing are paramount. Let the investigator know any needs you have and these will always be taken into consideration.