6 Major Consequences of Workplace Discrimination

6 Major Consequences of Workplace Discrimination

Workplace discrimination refers to the unfair or unfavourable treatment of an individual because they possess or are affiliated with a safeguarded characteristic.  If you’re in the position of being an employer, you’re most likely aware of your duty to protect employees from workplace discrimination and have processes to respond to it adequately. There are many reasons why this is such an important responsibility and failing to do so can result in severe long-term repercussions for the victim.

consequences of workplace discrimination can be similar to a domino effect

However, it is easy to forget that the consequences of workplace discrimination also extend beyond the victim, to all other employees of the workplace and the organisation at large. In fact, analysis by Deloitte Access Economics for the Human Rights Commission found that sexual harassment in the workplace resulted in a $2.6 billion dollar loss in productivity and a $0.9 billion dollar loss in other financial costs in 2018 alone.

What are the consequences of workplace discrimination?

Understanding how the consequences of workplace discrimination can affect your workplace will help you to adapt your approach to preventing and responding to its occurrence and contributing to the development of a healthy and safe workspace. It’s also important to note that a lot of these consequences are tied to each other and interconnected in several ways, so whilst they’ve been broken down below, the lines between them often blur in reality. 

1. Physical and mental impacts to health

Several studies, for example the 2015 research conducted by the American Psychology Association, has shown that there is a direct correlation between workplace discrimination and negative changes to one’s physical and mental health. Considering that 55% of employees have experienced discrimination at their current workplace, this is undeniably concerning.

Physical impacts to an employee’s health have been known to include an increase in aches and pains, headaches, higher blood pressure and even an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

A decline in mental health can result in the development or exacerbation of depression and anxiety disorders. This can manifest at work in many ways – for example, not feeling a sense of safety or belonging at work.

2. Legal costs

As an employer, you can be held viable to any legal consequences of workplace discrimination regardless of your personal involvement.

The penalty varies according to the form, severity, and duration of the discrimination as well where you are located and the size of your company. However,  employers bear about 70% of the financial costs as well as an approximate additional $5000 on each victim for their loss in wellbeing.  

3. Economic costs 

Beyond the legal fees you may have to pay, there is also additional costs that arise from the less tangible consequences of workplace discrimination.

Employees who are being subjected to unfavourable treatment can have increased absences and a decline in the amount and/or quality of their work output. When each discrimination case emerges, this also means additional expenditure of time, money, and resources for the company. In fact, a single harassment case can cause multiple days of lost output.

economic consequences of workplace discrimination

4. Workplace engagement and satisfaction

The consequences of workplace discrimination also extend to the general atmosphere at work with decreased employee motivation, engagement and commitment to the company and their role.

Employees are more likely to feel undervalued and as if they are not appreciated for their work and contribution. This in turn means that there is an increased risk of counterproductive behaviour such as leaving early or arriving late, delaying deadlines on tasks and putting in less effort into their job. Furthermore, dissatisfaction at their current situation means that employees are more prone to seeking other job opportunities resulting in increased staff turnover.

5. Social costs

The consequences of workplace discrimination can also have social implications.

Because such experiences can cause a decline in one’s mental health, lowering their self-esteem and increasing stress and anxiety, it can then result in decisions that would have otherwise not been made. An example of this is earlier retirement – studies have shown that those who experienced age discrimination were more likely to stop looking for work and consider retirement.

Other social costs can include long term unemployment as a result of consistent discrimination, valuable skills being lost to the company and social exclusion. 

6. Company reputation

The reputation of a company also suffers when cases of discrimination occur as they shape how potential clients, partners, the public and their own employees view the organisation.

For employees in particular, it can negatively change how they view the actions of their fellow co-workers and managers, promoting a culture of distrust and wariness amidst workers. A negative reputation also means that qualified workers are less likely to seek employment there, customers are not as loyal and an inability for the company to charge premium prices on the grounds of better value provision.

How can companies recover from the consequences of workplace discrimination?

Employers are in a position of leadership within the company. When workplace discrimination has caused the workplace to suffer, beyond handling the actual case itself, it’s important to consider bigger, company-wide changes as well. To read more about the methods you can utilise, take a look at our article on responding and preventing workplace discrimination.

Beyond specific changes to policies and company procedures, using the leadership position to promote a culture of diversity and inclusion can also change how the consequences of workplace discrimination impact the company in the long term. 

By highlighting the worth that diversity provides to the team, not only do you increase employee awareness of its importance, but you also allow them to feel valued and heard. This can be  incredibly beneficial with studies showing that a workplace culture that celebrates diversity and inclusion has lower turnover rates and absenteeism.

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To conclude, the consequences of workplace discrimination are not just limited to the parties involved in a particular case. It can damage a company economically, ruin its workplace culture, induce legal consequences and harm its reputation.

Knowing how far reaching these repercussions can be as an employer makes it all the more important to put in strategies to tackle the issue and prevent the consequences of workplace discrimination from harming the organisation irrevocably. 


How to Manage and Prevent Workplace Discrimination

How to Manage and Prevent Workplace Discrimination

Workplace discrimination, despite the many laws and regulations put in place to deter and address it’s occurrence, remains a pervasive problem for many employers. Navigating the murky waters of how discrimination occurs in its many different forms, some much less obvious than others, is a difficult endeavour that requires constant attention from employers seeking to protect their workplaces from its detrimental impacts.

However, having processes and systems in place to manage and prevent workplace discrimination enables an organisation to address issues far more effectively and, in many cases, prevent them from arising in the first place.

workplace discrimination inhibits diversity

This article will delve into some of the ways that workplace discrimination can be addressed and prevented. Depending on what type of discrimination you are addressing or where you work, the methods you incorporate can differ according to your needs.

The important thing to keep in mind is that workplace discrimination can have far reaching consequences for the victims as well as the company’s overall health, so as an employer, keeping the best interests of all involved parties and seeking action as soon as possible is key.

Below are some of the essential considerations and mechanisms all employers should consider when forming or reviewing their companies approach to anti-discrimination.

Managing Workplace Discrimination 

1. A good reporting system

An adequate system for reporting workplace discrimination is absolutely necessary for employers to include. This means that the system should be easily accessible and made available widely to all employees.

All employees should also be trained on how to utilise the system in their induction or be able to find how to do so via company resources.

The system should also allow for anonymous reports to be made as this is particularly helpful for victims who are fearful of repercussions or not sure how the complaint will be received. Having the ability to make the report without fear of being humiliated and knowing that their privacy will be maintained promotes an environment that encourages employees to speak up against discrimination.

2. Workplace investigation processes


When a report is made, undertaking a workplace investigation promptly and confidentially allows for workplace discrimination issues to be resolved more efficiently.

Doing so establishes that the company takes the complaints seriously and allows security to employees by knowing that their concerns will be addressed. The means of investigation will depend on the complaint and its severity, but all employees should have the ability to pursue both formal and informal resolution mechanisms. 

A workplace investigation interview may be required and other forms of documentation might need to be produced, so having a well thought out process and the right people handling the investigation is very important to resolving the issue in a satisfactory manner.

3. Additional support  

Part of the process and resolution of a workplace investigation should include means through which support can be provided to the victim.

For example, the victim could be provided with the option to work on a different project or location whilst the investigation is occurring, or once it has concluded, some additional support from their manager or supervisor whilst they are getting back on their feet.

A key thing to look out for is victimisation which is a fear that many employees face when deciding to make a complaint. Making sure that the employee is not exposed to additional discrimination as a result of victimisation is not only important in meeting the duty of care an employer owes, but also for maintaining an environment where other employees can make workplace discrimination reports without fear of retaliatory action that will inhibit their career growth or make their working environment hostile.  

workplace discrimination prevents effective teamwork

4. Remedial Action 

If a single or group of perpetrators is identified, adequate action in reflection of company policy must be made. This doesn’t necessarily mean that every case will result in someone being fired.

Depending on the context and severity of the discrimination, the employer, and others with the assigned authority, in conjunction with what the victim wants, must come to a decision on how to proceed with any action. This can include mandatory additional training, disciplinary action, legal proceedings, demotions and indeed, in some cases, termination.

Preventing Workplace Discrimination

1. Strong anti-discrimination policies

Having strong no-tolerance policies against discrimination and clear consequences for any infringement is central to the prevention of workplace discrimination.

Know that these policies are not just limited to cementing a strong stance against discrimination against any party, although this is important, but also includes policies that promote and allow for the fair treatment of all employees such as equal opportunities for advancement in roles.

Having the policy is also not capable of preventing discriminatory actions if the employees don’t know about it, so making sure that all employees are aware of and understand the policy is incredibly important.

Furthermore, enforcing the policy so that everyone recognises its significance will help to further establish an environment that inhibits workplace discrimination. 

2. Training/development initiatives for employees

All employees should be provided with educational training on discrimination to improve their understanding of the issue and to help protect themselves from being subjected to it unknowingly.

Beyond just discrimination specific training programs, similar initiatives on themes such as teamwork and diversity should also be introduced to promote harmony and a positive work environment. Beyond the initial onboarding process, these development opportunities should also be required or available and encouraged to employees at any point in their time with the company.

Supervisors and managers in particular should be required to undergo additional development before and during their time in the role as they have an additional responsibility to the employees that look to them for assistance.

3. Do your research 

employers should research workplace discrimination

As an employer, a lot of what you can do to address and prevent discrimination will be based on how much you understand how it operates, how it’s affected your company in the past or present and what different policies and practices can do to target the issue.

You can do this in a number of ways, including:

      • Reviewing company policies surrounding discrimination on a regular basis
      • Examining hiring and recruitment criteria carefully and making changes to ensure fair and equal consideration for all
      • Take note of other companies who have successfully minimised discrimination or have practices that you are thinking of implementing and learn from them
      • Increase your personal awareness of discrimination and seek feedback to understand where you or the company can improve

4. Employee affinity groups (aka employee resource groups, ERG’s)

An affinity group for employees brings together those with similar backgrounds, interests, or demographic factors such as gender or religion.

For example, women leadership or mentoring programs are a form of an affinity group present in many organisations today. They allow employees to feel welcome and included, promote friendships, and improve communication and teamwork, particularly for underrepresented or marginalised communities.

For employers, they are especially beneficial in identifying gaps in the company that need to be addressed and help tackle workplace discrimination, both in terms of the severity and number of issues that arise.

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The methods of managing and preventing workplace discrimination for each employer will vary depending on what resources, funding and means they have available to them. Regardless of what you utilise, having strong practices established and enforced will serve as a long-term investment for the company by preventing the detrimental impacts of workplace discrimination over the long term.

The above methods and means are not the only ways you can tackle the issue, but they are ones that all employers need to consider regardless of the size and type of their organisation.

Different Ways Discrimination Could be Occurring in Your Workplace

Different Ways Discrimination Could be Occurring in Your Workplace

The idea of discrimination in the workplace is not new; you’ve probably read of countless cases in the news, have had friends or family experience something similar or perhaps even been subjected to it yourself. In fact, a recent report by Nasdaq found that 55% of people have experienced discrimination at their current place of work. As an employer this can be worrying to hear, but by understanding how to identify discrimination in all its different forms you’ll be better equipped to make sure that your employees are adequately protected and a hostile work environment does not emerge.

Workplace discrimination should be prevented

Safeguarded Characteristics and Workplace Discrimination

Because discrimination is directly tied to action made on the basis of legally safeguarded characteristics, it is important to know what these are and what they can include.

These protected attributes can differ depending on where you are and the field of work you operate in but typically include:

    • Age e.g., not hiring an older yet qualified candidate on the assumption that they will not understand the necessary technology.
    • Gender e.g., not promoting a qualified female employee under the assumption she is not capable of leadership
    • Disability e.g., failing to accommodate to certain disabilities
    • Race e.g., treating an employee with excessive suspicion or hostility due to their race in comparison to their fellow employees
    • Religion e.g., firing someone because they took a day off for a religious holiday
    • Sexual orientation e.g., harassment against an employee on the basis of their sexual orientation
    • Parental status e.g., retaliating against an employee for seeking paternity leave


Direct Workplace Discrimination

The first distinction that must be made is between direct and indirect discrimination.

Direct discrimination refers to occurrences when an individual is subjected to negative treatment based on:

    • An attribute that is legally safeguarded.
    • The assumption of an attribute that is legally safeguarded
    • Connection to an individual that has a legally safeguarded attribute

Direct discrimination can be both intentional or unintentional and is often the easiest to identify.

Some examples include:

    • Being denied opportunities for promotion or training
    • Harmful verbal remarks in reference to the protected attribute
    • Not considering an applicant for a job because of their age

It is important to remember that such discrimination, regardless of whether it was intentional or not, is harmful to the employee and the overall health of the organisation. Just because the discrimination was not deliberate, does not mean a legal claim cannot be filed or that the workplace environment is not negatively impacted.

Indirect Workplace Discrimination

Indirect discrimination refers to policies, rules or guidelines implemented neutrally which everyone must follow but are disadvantageous to a particular group of people on the basis of a legally safeguarded attribute.

These policies or rules can be a formal or informal implementation and put in place on a singular or consistent basis. It can refer to but is not limited to hiring criteria, conditions for promotions, dress codes or qualifications and provisions.

Indirect discrimination is not as easy to identify as direct discrimination and is oftentimes unintentional. For example, you could have a dress code policy that applies to all employees in the exact same manner because you’re aiming to be fair. However, if the policy doesn’t allow for certain hairstyles or coverings, it ends up being discriminatory against employees from certain ethnic backgrounds or who have certain religious beliefs.

In this situation, having the same rules for everyone is not viable and the approach must be altered to cater to the diversity of all the employees. This form of discrimination is considered indirect as the original intent was not to discriminate against anyone.


Objective Justification

As an employer, you might have good reason to consider introducing a rule or policy that may result in a difference in treatment. For example, you might be trying to make sure your employees health and safety is not compromised.

When this occurs, to prevent the action from being considered discriminatory, an objective justification can be provided. An objective justification is where an employer or service provider showcases that its rules or policies serve a valid purpose and have been implemented for good reason.

There are a few criteria that must be met when proving objective justification and these include:

    • Financial incentive is not the reason behind the policy/action.
    • The aim of the policy/action must meet a legitimate consideration
    • Whether any potentially discriminatory actions are proportionate to the benefit derived from the policy/action
    • There is not alternative means of accomplishing the aim

In most cases, an objective justification can only be utilised as defence when the targeted attribute is age. A difference in treatment on the basis of any other protected characteristic typically falls under direct discrimination.

discrimination has no place in a healthy workplace


Harassment is when one is subjected to unwanted behaviour from someone else on the basis of or an association with a safeguarded characteristic.

The behaviour must contribute to developing an offensive and hostile environment or in effect, seek to shed the dignity of the victim.

Whilst there are no rules on what this behaviour could include, some examples are:

    • Inappropriate gestures that are mocking in nature
    • Sexually suggestive or explicit comments
    • Excluding someone intentionally and consistently
    • Making insulting jokes about an ethnic group

An important consideration with harassment is that claiming no intention to harm is not adequate as a defence. The victims’ experiences are the focus so as the employer, it is important to have a code of conduct in place that is adhered to by everyone at work.


Victimisation occurs when a worker does a protected act and is then discriminated against as a result. For example, if an employee made a complaint at work, or supported someone else’s complaint, then suffered detriments like bullying or being demoted.

Victimisation should not be tolerated at all in the workplace as not only can it be incredibly harmful to the employee, but it inhibits a healthy company culture.

Having an environment where employees don’t feel comfortable speaking up about negative treatment in fear of retaliation against them should be actively prevented. As an employer, you can be held responsible for victimisation even if you yourself were not the perpetrator, making this even more imperative.

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To conclude, discrimination can take on many different forms within the workplace. Having policies in place to prevent discrimination, and actively making sure that any revisions or extra provisions are included, is incredibly important to making sure that the workplace does not suffer long term detriment. As an employer, you owe a duty of care to employees to protect their best interests at work and making sure you remained informed and aware about discrimination is one way you can do that.

8 Ways to Find the Truth in a Workplace Investigation

8 Ways to Find the Truth in a Workplace Investigation

Finding the truth in a workplace investigation is incredibly important in ensuring that all parties involved are treated fairly and any malpractice is addressed effectively. The last thing you want to achieve is a false accusation against an innocent person but navigating all the different opinions, arguments and evidence can be difficult. 

finding the truth in a workplace investigation

However, there are some practices that you can incorporate that will help you find the truth in the most effective way possible and as an employer, it’s not only necessary to be aware of what these are but to actively implement them during workplace investigations. There are a number of methods available and what you decide to utilise in a particular investigation will depend on the dynamics of the situation, your purpose and who you’re working with.

What methods can you use to find the truth?

1. Be prepared and plan in advance

The first step should always be to have a plan in place for how you and any other relevant authorities have decided to approach the investigation. This includes collating all the information and evidence you already have, for example, any initial complaints, relevant emails, reports or warnings.  

There are a number of other decisions you will also need to make such as:

All of these considerations will influence what questions you ask and whether you are successful in finding the truth in a workplace investigation.

2. Make sure the person knows why they’re being interviewed 


Remember that open communication is an important aspect of a fair workplace investigation and that the interview is not meant to be secretive or intimidating. Often there are more than just one or two parties that need to be interviewed and many of them may be confused or a little scared and unsure of what’s going on. To make sure that everyone feels as comfortable and open to honestly discussing the circumstances, it’s important that they all know why they’re being asked to interview. They should also be assured of their rights and confidentiality, not only because this is best practice but also because it allows them to feel more secure in sharing information they may initially be hesitant to.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to inform the interviewee of details like:

    • The time, location, and date of the interview as soon as possible
    • Where they can seek extra support and information 
    • Their responsibility to maintain confidentiality 
    • Whether or not there will be any recording devices present
    • What they can expect to occur after the interview and any follow up procedures 

3. Asking the right questions to the right person

The questions you ask and how you ask them will shape the outcome of the overall workplace investigation. It’s best to have a draft version of the questions prepared but it’s simultaneously just as important to not treat the draft like a strict script.  Part of having a conducive interview will be using what you’re learning during the conversation itself to influence what you discuss – perhaps some planned questions become obsolete, or a need arises to ask additional questions that were not considered necessary beforehand

The questions should be open and encourage the interviewee to respond in detail. For example instead of starting with “Didn’t you….”, be more open with your phrasing by using language such as “Describe…” or “Explain…”.If you feel there could be more elaboration, gently prompt them to expand with follow up questions. Make sure not to ask multiple questions in a single instance because this often leads to one being forgotten, or important details to be excluded.

Finding the truth in a workplace investigation is also often a matter of questioning the right people so another aspect that must be considered is whether all the relevant parties are being included and tailoring your questions to each person and their particular involvement. For example, asking someone who was not present what they thought of a certain event will not necessarily aid you in the workplace investigation process.

4. Keep it professional

Your behaviour during the interview will set the tone for how it proceeds and will also influence what is gained from the session. Ensure that you are not overly casual or too cold in demeanour, stay polite and friendly but professional in reflection of your role. It’s also important that as the interviewer, you take control and guide the interview effectively. Keep the focus on the interviewee and their role and prevent the conversation from deviating into irrelevant topics. If the other party becomes visibly upset or aggressive, keep calm and remind them of their responsibility, what their rights and options are and offer a small break.

remaining professional when finding the truth in an investigation

5. Avoid casting judgement or implying blame

The interviewee may have to delve into actions or behaviour that they may not be proud of or that you find personally unsavoury or unprofessional. As the interviewer, it is critical that you do not engage with your personal feelings and remain neutral. The interview session’s purpose is not to assign blame and it is absolutely critical to avoid behaving as if you’re judging the interviewee based on what they say. Doing so can make them defensive and reluctant to share more which will be detrimental to the workplace investigation.

6. Take note of visual communication

The interviewee’s body language can also say a lot about what they’re actually saying. This doesn’t mean you should start drawing conclusions based on a body movement or their tone but being aware of this can aid in gaining a general understanding of how the person feels about a subject. Are they becoming more defensive, passive, or aggressive based on the questions? Are they raising their voice or perhaps mumbling or stammering? These visual cues are important because they can ascertain the emotional response of the interviewee and hence aid in finding the truth of what occurred.

Being mindful of your own body language will also be helpful in encouraging open communication. Show that you are actively listening and engaging with the interviewee and make them feel heard. Try to keep your own movements open and avoid gestures like crossing your arms as it can denote a negative visual cue. 

7. Implement positive confrontation

Positive confrontation refers to the discussion of subjects that may be sensitive but in a manner that is respectful to the person and conducive to the investigation. There is a high chance that you may need to bring up issues or events that are delicate or confront the person with something they did (only in the scenario you are certain of their actions). Using a positive confrontation model will allow you to gather the information you need for the workplace investigation and give the other person a chance to discuss their view of what occurred without the interaction becoming unprofessional.

8. Document the investigation process and findings 


Your findings during the interview will likely need to be reviewed by other people with authority that are involved in the workplace investigation. Making sure that you document the workplace investigation correctly and comprehensively will allow the investigation to proceed towards finding the truth as soon as possible. There may be a number of documentations you need to complete based on your company policies so ensuring that you’re aware of what you need to do in the follow up is a key responsibility. Adequate written records are also very helpful in the scenario that any legal proceedings occur and in future cases of misconduct or malpractice. 


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There are hence many considerations for employers when seeking the truth in a workplace investigation. Each employer must decide what methods and means to incorporate in their investigation processes, and this can change depending on the particulars of the case that arises. However, the above eight methods are ones that should be thought about carefully as they will prove to be important factors regardless of the nature of the situation.

How to Document a Workplace Investigation Interview

How to Document a Workplace Investigation Interview

All employers should be committed to the documentation of any and all workplace investigations that occur within the workplace. How else can decisions regarding any potential action be made if the details of the preceding events are not noted in a credible format? Due to their typically verbal nature, interviews in particular need to have records that represent the conversation accurately and to the level of detail in which they occurred. 

workplace investigation interview

Why is it important to document a workplace investigation interview?

Adequate record keeping of workplace incidents and any workplace investigation interviews undertaken serves as an investment for the company. It provides a documented record of the occurrence that can be examined and referred to as many times over whilst maintaining credibility. In the case of any legal proceedings or claims, this allows far greater ability for defence especially in comparison to verbal statements provided long after the situation occurred. This way, any conflictual information that arises, details that are forgotten or statement of events can be cross checked with the interview records at later points in the investigation, minimising any confusion or attempts to mislead.

Thorough documentation also bolsters employee confidence by promoting a culture of policy adherence within the company, one that provides a sense of security in the scenario they’re asked or want to participate in an interview themselves.  In such situations, documentation is also a much more comfortable route for employees to take, as opposed to video or audio recording devices, and allows them to feel more at ease and discuss the circumstances more comprehensively.


What ways can a workplace investigation interview be documented?

There are a number of methods through which a workplace investigation interview can be documented. It is not always necessary to employ all possible means at every occurrence that requires a workplace investigation interview. As an employer, what you choose to document as well as the extent of detail you employ, will depend on the nature of the event and the risk it poses to the company.

The higher you perceive the risk to be, the more important it becomes to have the workplace investigation interview documented in a manner that represents the interview as accurately as possible. You can do this by following the below steps:

1. Interview Notes

The interview notes can be made by either the interviewer themselves or by an additional note taker that is present in the room. The latter is more preferable as it allows the conversation between the parties to flow better and occur without the interruption of jotting notes down which can also make the other individual nervous and their answers consequently less thorough.

These notes are generally only for the person taking them and should not be referred to after they have been used to produce the interview memorandum. This is largely because the notes taken in real time are very subjective and often abbreviated for time purposes and as a result, only truly comprehensible by the person who wrote them.

2. Witness Interview Memorandum

The witness interview memorandum is one of the most important pieces of documentation in the entire workplace investigation process. It is a written record of the interview that depicts the spoken conversation, not necessarily as a completely verbatim account but in a cohesive and logical manner. It should include a brief background of the interviewee including their position, their work history and relationship with any relevant employees.

Following this should be a chronological account of the questions and answers as near to their original speech. Any edits to the account should only be permissible to those that were present at the interview and have the relevant authority to do so.

Having these memorandums on hand for each witness that is relevant to a workplace incident allows the authorised counsel to put together the different perspectives of the incident until there is a consolidated understanding of the event that matches the statements of the witnesses and allows for any inconsistencies to be identified and addressed. The memorandum should also be signed by the witness to certify their acknowledgment of the facts of the interview and to ensure that there are no discrepancies in what was spoken versus what was written.


The interview memorandum can also contain the counsel’s opinions about the interviewee’s responses in accordance with their perception of:

  • the individual’s body language
  • the tonal quality of their responses
  • the manner in which they responded 
  • the consistency of their responses

This can be used to offer additional insight into the interview but can also be excluded if there is an expectation that the memorandum will be provided to external authorities such as the Fair Work Ombudsman

3. Workplace Investigation Report

A summary of all the workplace investigation interviews that occurred during the investigative proceedings of an incident is also included in the final report. References to the interviews can be made to support the conclusions that are reached by the report but typically the interview summaries are concise and limited to the most important revelations. This is because the investigation report is a document that combines the findings of all the other documentation and procedures that occurred to reach a recommendation of possible action or inaction. The workplace investigation interviews themselves are important but not the only piece of the puzzle required to conclude an investigation. 


conducting a workplace investigation interview

What else is important about conducting workplace investigation interviews?


Besides the documentation of a workplace investigation interview, there are a number of other considerations that an employer should take into account to ensure that an interview is as conducive to the investigation as possible.

The interview location is an important decision that can play a part in how effective the session with the witness is. The right interview setting should be in a private space; a public place can cause unnecessary distractions and pose risks to the confidentiality of the interview itself. It should also be a comfortable setting, whilst maintaining a necessary degree of formality, to allow the witness to feel at ease and share their experiences freely and openly.

The witness should be made aware of their rights in undertaking the interview as well during and after the session itself. They should feel free to pause or end the interview at any point if they no longer feel comfortable,  be welcomed to take their time in responding and be provided an explanation as to why the interview is taking place. Similarly, they should also be informed of their responsibility to share the truth as they see it and refrain from misleading answers.

Another consideration is the approach to the interview itself. It’s advisable to avoid being confrontational and to ask questions that focus on fact gathering, the witness and their experiences regarding the incident. Taking on a confrontational tone or asking questions in a manner that insinuates blame can seem threatening to the witness and prevent them from being as open as they could be otherwise. 

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Workplace investigation interviews are an important part of the entire investigative process and the manner in which they are conducted and documented should be an important consideration for employers. Adequate documentation can mean all the difference when it comes to ensuring the best possible outcome for the company at the conclusion of an investigation.

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