As with many things, the secret to a successful workplace investigation is planning. Preparing an investigation plan which centres around the below key steps will allow you to work methodically through each stage and produce a reliable result.


13 steps of a successful workplace investigation

Generally, you will undertake the following steps when investigating issues involving a complaint by one employee against another (e.g. bullying, harassment, discrimination, etc.):

  1. Review all relevant documentation, including any initial complaint and relevant company policies;
  2. Make an initial assessment regarding whether an investigation is required;
  3. If so, develop the scope of the investigation;
  4. Advise the parties involved (as appropriate);
  5. Interview the complainant;
  6. Interview witnesses;
  7. Collect all other evidence;
  8. Formulate allegations against the ‘respondent’ and provide them with details of the complaint;
  9. Interview the respondent;
  10. Interview any additional witnesses;
  11. Evaluate all evidence;
  12. Make findings of what has occurred based on all the evidence; and
  13. Draft final report.


Although the above steps remain relatively consistent in every investigation, sometimes the order in which each step is completed may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the matter.


Need help with an outsourced workplace investigation?

Whilst there is no specific requirement that a workplace investigation must be outsourced to a third party, doing so is often advisable to ensure the independence of the investigation and to avoid involving one of your own employees in a potentially stressful task, see our earlier articles below.

If you require assistance with conducting a workplace investigation, please contact EI Legal.


Other content that may interest you

Workplace Investigations

5 Reasons To Outsource Your Workplace Investigation

When is a formal workplace investigation required?


About EI Legal

EI Legal is a specialist firm of employment lawyers. We advise businesses of all shapes and sizes as well as employees and HR professionals. Please contact us if you require any assistance or wish to discuss whether an investigation is right for you and how we can help.



The information provided in these blog articles is general in nature and is not intended to substitute for professional legal advice. If you are unsure about how this information applies to your specific situation we recommend you contact EI Legal for advice.