An internal investigation could be triggered by any one of a whole range of issues, for example, a suspicion of theft, alleged malpractice, or bullying or harassment. And it could involve anything that seems to go against the employer’s policies or is contrary to law.
Whatever the issue, it’s crucial that the employer handles the investigation effectively, taking into account issues of professional privilege, disclosure obligations, questions of access to evidence and also the protection of individual privacy and other rights.
For an investigation to be effective, it needs to be independent, objective, appropriately conducted and properly documented. If an employee ends up taking a matter to court, the court will look at how it was dealt with internally, before it got there and if it finds the process was unfair, for example, that could compromise the employer’s case.
From 17 December 2023, companies of 50 or more employees will need to comply with the EU Whistleblowing Directive (larger companies, of 250 people and more, already have to). Many smaller companies struggle to take the action needed to comply, but we can help.
Our quick-view map shows the status of implementation of the Directive across EU jurisdictions, plus some others that are not in the EU, but geographically close by.
Janusz Tomczak is a partner at Raczkowski, Poland and Chair of the Ius Laboris Expert Group on Internal Investigations & Whistleblowing.Janusz Tomczak
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