Does the complainant or respondent have to participate in a workplace investigation?

Continuing our series of short videos on the subject of workplace investigations. It’s a subject that’s often misunderstood and even mishandled by leaders, managers and HR personnel. Today’s question...

Does the complainant or respondent have to participate in a workplace investigation?

Though you might think it would be in the interests of a complainant to support their complaint or the interests of a respondent to defend a complaint, neither party is under any obligation to participate in a workplace investigation. This may be because they don’t wish to or it may simply be because they are unable to.

These situations might include:

  • Where the complaint has been made anonymously
  • Where the complainant or respondent has left employment with the company
  • When either party is absent from work for an extended time and it is considered essential to complete a preliminary investigation promptly which may mean that a form of investigation is completed before that party returns to work
  • When the complainant has categorically stated they do not wish to participate in the investigation but the business believes the nature of the allegations warrants that an investigation still be completed
  • When the respondent is shocked and aggrieved that a complaint has been made against them and refuses to participate.

We’ve compiled a resource of Frequently Asked Questions About Workplace Investigations for managers and human resource personnel. The resource includes a video and pdf transcript of Catherine Gillespie, Managing Director of Workplace Conflict Resolution, answering 29 commonly asked questions. To access your copy of the video and transcript click here.

About the Author

Catherine Gillespie brings a wealth of skill to her clients. With particular expertise in teaching communication and workplace conflict resolution skills, Catherine has made a marked difference to the organisations she has worked with. She empowers teams and managers to adopt constructive styles that support harmony, productivity and progress in the workplace.