Workplace Investigations: Principles and Practice


Workplace Investigations: Principles & Practice is an essential guide for HR professionals, employment lawyers and workplace investigators.

The conduct of workplace investigations has become commonplace in Australian workplaces over the last decade.

With the growing spotlight on bad workplace behaviours across the public and private sectors in recent years — especially on the prevalence of sexual harassment and bullying in workplaces — the need for fair, robust and reliable workplace investigation processes has grown. A workplace investigation process today needs to withstand not only the scrutiny of courts and tribunals, but also potentially other stakeholders such as shareholders and the broader workforce as transparency grows.

This 2nd edition of Workplace Investigations: Principles and Practice recognises that there has never been a greater need for the clear articulation of the principles, processes and practices in this important and expanding area. This edition includes new and expanded guidance for specialised investigations, including into sexual harassment and bullying complaints, to better equip those involved in managing and conducting workplace investigations to meet the challenges involved in handling workplace complaints.

Book Review – PROCTOR | April 2019

Table of Contents

  • Workplace Investigations and the Emergence of an Australian Profession
  • Workplace Investigation Overview
  • Initial Considerations
  • Planning the Investigation
  • Management of a Successful Workplace Investigation
  • Drafting Allegations
  • Procedural Fairness in Workplace Investigations Categories and Sufficiency of Evidence
  • Gathering Evidence
  • Conducting Interviews
  • Responding to Culture, Trauma and Other
  • Interview Challenges
  • Legal Professional Privilege
  • Workplace Investigator Ethics
  • Making Findings and Writing the Investigation Report
  • Bullying Investigations
  • Sexual Harassment Investigations
  • Discrimination Investigations
  • Investigations Involving Allegations of Criminal Conduct
  • Investigations Involving Allegations of Corruption
  • Whistleblower Investigations
  • Culture Reviews

About the Authors

Paula Hoctor BA, LLB (HONS) (UQ), LLM(USYD), GAICD, is the founder and Principal of Q Workplace Solutions, a leading national workplace investigation firm since 2011. Paula is an experienced lawyer who is highly skilled in conducting workplace investigations and reviews in both the private and public sectors. She conducts investigations for a variety of organisations from not-for-profits to ASX listed companies.

Kerryn Tredwell BA, LLB (HONS) (UQ) is an experienced workplace investigator and Practice Leader with Q Workplace Solutions. In conducting investigations, Kerryn draws on her decades of experience as an employment lawyer advising organisations in employment-related litigation, including sensitive and high-profile cases involving sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying.

Praise for Workplace Investigations: Principles and Practice (1st and 2nd editions)

“To date, there has been no comprehensive “how to” guide for workplace investigators which establishes professional and ethical standards, whether they be internal or external. There is no independent supervision of workplace investigators by which the community can repose trust and confidence in their integrity and competence. I very much welcome this work to highlight and address this gap and hope that it contributes positively to the discourse regarding regulation of the workplace investigation industry in addition to providing internal investigators with the appropriate tools and reference point to discharge their obligations and manage risk for their organisation.”

Alice De Boos, Managing Partner Kingston Reid (formerly Partner and Practice Area Leader – Labour Employment and Workplace Safety, K&L Gates)

“This book should be applauded for providing a much-needed best-practise guide for workplace investigations. Whilst the focus is undoubtedly on the obligations and duties of employers and investigators, the book’s detailed analysis and discussion about the workplace investigations model generally should prove useful to anybody engaged in the process.”

Sarah Ford, Associate Gilshenan & Luton Legal Practice, and member of the Queensland Law Society Occupational Discipline Law Committee

“Hoctor and Robertson’s book guides the reader usefully through the applicability of the rules of natural justice/procedural fairness to the workplace investigation context.”

Ian Freckelton QC

“May I congratulate Paula Hoctor, Michael Robertson and their colleagues at Q Workplace Solutions in producing such a valuable, insightful and user-friendly book on workplace investigations.”

John H.C.Colvin, Consultant Herbert Smith Freehills, Adjunct Professor University of Sydney