Step 1: Deciding if there needs to be an investigation
An investigation is to:
- see if there is a case to answer
- make sure everyone is treated fairly
- gather evidence from all sides
- help the employer to see what should happen next
At any stage the employer can still look at whether:
- the formal procedure needs to carry on
- the issue can be resolved informally instead
Following a fair procedure
To protect everyone involved in a disciplinary or grievance case, the employer must make sure they follow a fair procedure. The investigation is an important part of this.
If the employer does not carry out a reasonable investigation, any decisions they make in the disciplinary or grievance case are likely to be unfair. This could risk legal action.
Investigations are covered by the Acas Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures, which is the minimum a workplace must follow. Your workplace might have its own policy or procedure.
If a disciplinary or grievance case reaches an employment tribunal, judges will look at whether the employer has followed the Acas Code of Practice in a fair way.
Training for employers and managers
You can get Acas training on conducting investigations for disciplinary or grievance cases.