According to the Collins Dictionary: “Someone who is impartial is not directly involved in a particular situation, and is therefore able to give a fair opinion or decision about it.” An investigator’s primary role is to fact-find in an impartial manner. The investigator gathers the evidence concerning the issue which has been raised, whether this relates to a disciplinary matter, grievance or someone who has ‘blown the whistle’.
When dealing with serious allegations, such as sexual harassment or whistleblowing, often the employee raising the concern may have done so reluctantly. They may be fearful about how the employer will react, potential reprisals or whether they will be believed. Similarly, an employee who is accused of wrongdoing may be concerned that they will not have the opportunity to defend themselves.
Appointing an impartial investigator is the first step in ensuring that any such workplace investigation is conducted in a manner which provides reassurance to those who are accusing and those who are accused. An investigator needs to ensure everyone involved is treated with respect and fairly and that the investigation is approached with an open mind.
Employers must also be mindful that an impartial investigation is a key consideration for Tribunals when determining employment law claims; ACAS are clear that an investigation must be ‘fair’ and ‘objective’.
If you are concerned about whether you have the ability to carry out an impartial investigation, whether this is because you are a small company with limited individuals who can carry it out, or a senior employee is involved, or simply because of time pressures, our workplace investigations experts can support.
We have experienced, skilled investigators who can mobilise quickly. Using Gateley’s investigators means that you can be reassured that there will be no inference that the investigation is not impartial, and in fact, you can confidently advise any individuals involved that the investigation will be impartial.