Independent Workplace Investigator

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Would you rather your workplace investigation highlighted all the important aspects of your situation, warts and all, or find them out in an Employment Tribunal hearing room?

There are investigators who will draw the conclusions clients want them to, but that’s not what you need. It is much more useful to know what really happened and to know the reality of the situation. Then you have everything you need to make the right decision about what to do. It should mean you’re much less likely to appear in an Employment Tribunal let alone lose your case.

As an accredited investigator and barrister, I conduct complex, challenging and sensitive workplace investigations often in respect of senior executives and Board members, into grievances and allegations of misconduct as well as wider investigations into complaints, business problems and crises.

My experience of sitting on over 1,000 cases as a Tribunal Chair or Member for various forms of tribunals gives me the edge on identification, analysis and appraisal of evidence, and assessment of witness credibility. I have acted as a Case Presenter for regulatory bodies against their members, previously sat on the Investigation Panel of the British Computer Society’s Professional Conduct Committee and have represented parties before Employment Tribunals.  This experience leaves me well placed to identify what may succeed or fail during any subsequent hearing or trial.

Furthermore, my previous experience, prior to qualifying as a lawyer is invaluable in assessing witnesses, the likelihood of events happening as described and the relative seriousness of an allegation. It also helps me build rapport with all those I need to interview. When I was younger I worked in a coleslaw factory, drove a forklift truck and worked on a trade counter. I’ve also worked as a money market trader dealing with other people trading hundreds of millions of financial products a day, through to sitting alongside QCs and High Court Judges during dinners at the Inns of Court. I adjust my style and approach to every situation I have to deal with.

I have conducted investigations for some of the UK’s largest and highest profile companies and organisations and have included allegations or complaints of:

– sexual misconduct, sexual harassment and obscene imagery of sexual violence,
– exposing the organisation to multimillion pound risk and reputational damage,
– risking the loss of major contract representing 25% of business unit income,
– bullying and harassment, including at Board/CEO level,
– practising witchcraft in the workplace and putting curses on colleagues,
– running a business from employer’s premises,
– misconduct flowing from mental health issues and addictions,
– unauthorised leaks to the press,
– bringing the employer into disrepute,
– covert recordings of Board/CEO meetings,
– whistle-blowing,
– unfair grievance proceedings,
– breach of trust and confidence.

I have particular experience of academic, healthcare, technology, financial services and construction industries.

My extensive experience as a decision maker gives me the edge in being able to envisage the arguments that may be put before a hearing and make an impartial and robust appraisal of evidence.  Such an honest appraisal provides an organisation with an informed assessment of the situation on which to base a more accurate and secure strategy of what to do next.

Independence also minimises the risk of cognitive bias such as confirmation bias which may blind the investigator to crucial evidence risking an unsound conclusion.  Organisations can bet that these will surely come out at a hearing or trial if not properly developed during the investigation by which time it may be too late to adopt different less costly strategies.

In relation to employment linked investigations, an employer’s protection between an employee’s disciplinary process and an unsuccessfully defended claim before an Employment Tribunal is having a fair investigation, disciplinary and if relevant appeal hearing. Similarly grievances made by employees that have not been properly investigated store up future problems for disgruntled employees or ET claims.  Whilst studying to be a Barrister, I achieved a high ‘very competent’ in his employment elective.

Investigations and disciplinaries heard by someone independent from the organisation or for senior roles, and completely independent from the senior executive help to ensure the employee receives a fair hearing.

col_masterI am also an accredited mediator and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and depending on the scenario, may be able to spot opportunities for parties to find a consensual resolution to the situation before them.

 

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