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5 July 2019

Investigating Employee Misconduct: A Guide

Every company suffers from a variety of issues when it comes to the conduct of their employees. Some individuals are late for work constantly; some take too many breaks for cigarettes; and some are on their phones more than they’re on their desktops. These are all irksome behaviors that you’re able to easily stamp out through discipline and authority. What’s less easy, and more serious, are the cases of employee misconduct where they’ve either broken company policy, voided their contract, or broken the law. In those cases, you should follow the advice below to bring those responsible to justice.

Understand the Misconduct Charge
What exactly are you accusing your employee/s of? How sure can you be that it was someone within your business who conducted a crime or did something serious enough to be fired? You need to decide the answers to these questions within your management team before you start tossing accusations around the office. Indeed, this is best kept within senior management for as long as possible – as rumors are disruptive to innocent employees in the workplace.

Talk with Specialists
Many cases of employee misconduct in some way involve technology. Maybe your employee has been using tech to siphon of funds from company accounts into their own personal account, or perhaps they’ve been engaging in illicit acts while using work devices. Whatever it is, you’ll need to find out from specialists how exactly you’ll be able to prove that your employee has acted out of line.

Seize Devices
All of the devices that your employee uses, but that are property of your company, can be seized at any time without warning. That’s because they’re your property and, in any case, your employee shouldn’t be using them for anything but work. Then, use free computer forensics software to understand all of the data contained within these devices, learning about where your employee might’ve been conducting misbehavior in your work devices. Evidence gathered at this stage will be very important if you plan to dismiss your employee.

Schedule a Meeting
Now it’s time to bring your employee before yourself and your management team in order to ask them questions related to their case. Depending on what you’ve already discussed and found internally, this might either be a meeting in which you formally sack your employee, or you give them one last chance to explain their behavior before their superiors. Make sure that you know what you’re talking about before the meeting takes place, and that you know how you’ll react to the points made by your employee.

Avoid Unlawful Dismissal
On this point, it’s important to note that your company shouldn’t be trigger-happy with dismissals. Misconduct of many kinds is grounds for dismissal, but you should be careful that the steps you take to catch and punish your employee isn’t regarded as discrimination, as this can result in a long, tiresome and damaging lawsuit that you’d all rather do without. Know the workplace regulations to avoid this scenario.

Use the advice above to go about an employee misconduct investigation with the utmost care and sensitivity.
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