A well-conducted investigation can reduce workplace conflict, promote job satisfaction and inclusion, and can also help shield you from legal liability. However, the converse is also true — a botched investigation can have enormous implications, both from a business and legal perspective.


At The Huxley Hill Group, we are extremely passionate about ensuring organisations are conducting top quality investigations so that the best outcome is achieved for all parties.  That’s why with every investigation we conduct, we’re not just trying to discover what happened and who was involved, but also how it happened and what can be done to prevent it happening again.  This means your business has the information it needs to implement changes that promote a safe and healthy workplace for all staff members.

Bullying can occur in any workplace.  It can have an impact on an individual’s health and affect their ability to do their job. It can also contribute to loss of productivity, staff turnover, absenteeism, low morale and financial costs.  Furthermore, it can lead to Workers’ Compensation Claims or criminal offences against the bully and the organisation, if not treated appropriately.


Early intervention is ideal, however, when this fails or doesn’t occur, an investigation is required.  Investigations need to be impartial and fair to all parties and the correct procedures followed as per the relevant OHS laws, FairWork and Human Rights Charter.

Harassment and discriminatory behaviour is not only harmful to the victim, but also to the success of your business by lowering productivity and increasing staff turnover.


Employers need to be proactive in addressing hostile behaviour that may be embedded in the workplace culture. Examples of a potentially hostile working environment are where racially or sexually crude conversations, innuendo or offensive jokes are part of the accepted culture.


Under occupational health and safety legislation, employers and employees are required to comply with any measures that promote health and safety in the workplace.

Employee misconduct and serious misconduct covers a whole range of behaviours and courses of action.  Misconduct usually implies an act done wilfully with a wrong intention, and conveys the idea of wrongful intention.


Matters of serious misconduct often will lead to termination.  It is therefore absolutely critical that an investigation into these matters is conducted by an expert who understands the laws of evidence and Fair Work requirements.  We have found that this is an area that employers typically need outside support due to a lack of experience.

Organisational fraud is more common than most businesses think. It can have differing impacts on the success of a business, regardless of size. In the most serious of cases, employee fraud can lead to business failure and destroyed careers.


Misplaced trust, reduced morale, inadequate hiring and supervision policies, and a failure to implement strong internal controls create an environment that is ripe for an employee to commit fraud.  Organisational fraud is therefore about opportunity.

Engaging an External Investigator

Legal protections from unacceptable behaviour in the workplace have made investigations an integral part of the strategies adopted by employers in managing and preventing unacceptable workplace behaviour.


Workplace issues that become the subject of court proceedings have typically been investigated at an earlier stage for the purposes of taking remedial or disciplinary action or for discovering the factual circumstances behind a complaint or grievance. Having the right processes in place from the outset is an integral part of minimising the risk of litigation.


Investigations are our bread and butter and we’ve found that our clients save thousands of dollars in litigation and claims expenses by utilising our expert knowledge and experience.


When engaging The Huxley Hill Group as your external investigator, you can be confident that we have the skills and expertise required to ensure you receive top quality investigations and reports, every time. Our investigations teams are headed by former Senior Police, with over 20 years of combined experience in all manner of investigations, including Fraud, Vulnerable Persons, Sex Crimes, Missing Persons and Counter-Terrorism.

Benefits Of Using An External Investigator

Type of Investigation
A good example of this is where the seriousness of a matter means that the investigation could result in a termination of employment. The most common type of case faced by employers following an investigation is an unfair dismissal application, in which the Fair Work Commission will consider the fairness of the investigation and whether the opportunity has been given to a party to respond to any allegation made against them. As an employer you want to ensure that procedural fairness and natural justice have been followed in every aspect of the investigation.
Appearance of Bias & Integrity
Significant ramifications can result from bias, or the appearance of bias arising from an investigation that is undertaken by personnel. If the matter is reported to the Fair Work Commission, this will be the first consideration they make. Any real or perceived conflict of interest of bias will be looked upon unfavourably.
Managing Risk

Investigations help protect companies against internal and external threats. Investigations also identify areas of unacceptable business risks so that company management can address them.

In our experience, we have found investigations conducted internally tend to be very target focused. That is, they look only to determine whether the alleged behaviour or actions have occurred. However, they fail to look at the bigger picture, such as:


– How did this occur?

– How can we prevent it from happening again?

– What is the team culture like and what changes need to be made?

– What, if any, effects has the alleged behaviour had on other staff?

Achieving the Desired Outcome
The potential consequences of utilising an inexperienced internal resource to conduct a workplace investigation were made clear in Francis v Patrick Stevedores Holdings Pty Ltd [2014] FWC 7775:


Ms Green had never conducted a disciplinary investigation into allegations of physical assault at the workplace. Her inexperience and lack of forensic skills as to the assessment of witness evidence, was a major contributory factor to the weaknesses exposed in the respondent’s evidentiary case. This should not be seen as a criticism per se of Ms Green, but rather it demonstrates a failure of senior management to recognise the seriousness of the issues and their causes and a failure to independently assess the investigator’s findings and recommendations. Ms Green should not be blamed for these failures.”


The employee’s dismissal was overturned due to the flaws in the investigation that led to it.

Statistics and quotes by People + Culture Strategies

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