Learn from my experience of conducting formal investigations into harassment, bullying and discrimination for large, high profile companies and organisations.

Tip – How to decide on your findings
When you have collected your evidence and put it into your report, read it through carefully and the conclusions should be apparent. List the conclusions, then put the report aside for a while. When you come back to it afresh and reread the conclusions, your findings should be evident. They should be obvious and clear. If they are not, then you will need to acquire more evidence.

My findings read: “Based on the evidence collected and considering this within the balance of probabilities, the investigator does/does not uphold this allegation.”

That is sufficient!

Tip -The importance of a robust report
The report should list the evidence collected and give details of conclusions based on this evidence. The conclusions should not be based on the personal opinions of the investigators but should be objective and evidential. The findings, based on the balance of probabilities, should state whether the complaint is upheld.

Remember that the report is all that remains following an investigation. It should be robust enough to stand up to examination if there is an appeal or if the case goes to an employment tribunal.
For this reason, it should be thorough, impartial and free of the investigators’ opinions.

Rather than rely on your memory, keep a written record of the progress of the investigation.

Note: The investigators should consider the impact of the alleged behaviour and whether it was a reasonable reaction to the events.
Check out my blog in the next edition of HR Review for more tips on investigating harassment, bullying and discrimination.





Jean Kelly, MD, Jean Kelly Consultancy

Jean Kelly is an experienced specialist in combating harassment and bullying at work. Her company investigates, trains and consults on all issues relating to conflict at work.

Jean offers a conciliation coaching service to informally resolve workplace disputes and she has produced a range of products and open programmes to help managers develop their people management skills.