Workplace investigations

Workplace investigations have become increasingly common. Maurice Blackburn's employment lawyers have decades of experience advising professionals, executives, and employees on disciplinary matters and in workplace investigations. We have assisted doctors, CEOs, directors, managers, nurses, psychologists, teachers, and many others, to defend their professional reputations and protect their livelihoods. If you are facing a workplace investigation or other disciplinary matter we can help.

We help employees that are involved in workplace investigations by taking a proactive approach and attempting to resolve the matter as quickly as possible. We can assist by:

  • Responding to allegations which are the subject of a workplace investigation;
  • Appearing with our clients at interviews with workplace investigators;
  • Preparing written complaints or grievances for clients who wish to initiate a grievance procedure or workplace investigation; and
  • Dealing with employers, tribunals or boards conducting workplace investigations to provide our clients with certainty, clarity and fairness.

We understand that workplace investigations need to be handled with both determination and discretion, and we work to successfully resolve your situation while protecting your current and future income, employment prospects and professional reputation. Maurice Blackburn are the number one choice to represent you in a workplace investigation, contact us today to discuss how we can assist you.

Are you facing a workplace investigation?

Investigations usually occur as the result of a complaint, or in relation to allegations of misconduct, bullying, harassment, breaches of health and safety procedures or other disciplinary matters.  As there is no single legal framework that sets out the way in which investigations should be conducted, the process can sometimes be uncertain and confusing. 

Maurice Blackburn’s employment lawyers are able to provide valuable assistance and representation to employees and executives facing allegations of misconduct in the workplace, or who are required to appear before professional tribunals and boards. If necessary, we can also seek injunctive relief on our client’s behalf.  An injunction is a court order requiring a party to do or cease doing a specific action.  In one case we obtained an urgent Federal Court order which overturned the suspension of an employee who was being investigated over allegations of misconduct.

Josh Bornstein, the head of our national Employment practice, has considerable experience in successfully representing clients in workplace investigations and tribunals. He is also Deputy Chair of the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board, the disciplinary tribunal for the Victorian horse racing industry. If you are facing a workplace investigation or other disciplinary matter we can help.

Contact us to find out how our specialist employment lawyers can assist you today.

We can protect your reputation and ensure transparency

Legal privilege over workplace investigations is increasingly being claimed by organisations in order to withhold valid information and outcomes from employees. The danger is that – within this shield of legal professional privilege – information and instruction can pass between the employer and the ‘independent investigator’, enabling the employer to covertly and even unlawfully influence the investigation and its outcome.

At Maurice Blackburn we strongly advise clients to first obtain formal assurances as to the complete transparency of any proposed ‘external’ investigation, as well as the independence and impartiality of any workplace investigator to be engaged.

We are the expert choice for workplace investigations, and will fight to protect your reputation and ensure transparency. If you are facing a workplace investigation we can help, contact us today.

Public sector workplace investigations

Public sector employees and executives can only be dismissed in particular circumstances, and have rights to challenge any decision to terminate their employment, or to subject them to any disciplinary action. Maurice Blackburn's employment lawyers are experienced in advising and representing senior public servants in both State and Commonwealth domains. If you are a public sector employee facing disciplinary action or termination we are the best choice to ensure your rights and protect your professional reputation.

Contact Maurice Blackburn to discuss your case.

Successful cases

Quinn v Overland

Quinn v Overland [2010] FCA 799

Ms Quinn was represented by Maurice Blackburn in her action against her employer. The Federal Court of Australia ordered an injunction in favour of Ms Quinn, a public servant, against her employer Victoria Police.

The effect of the injunction prevented Ms Quinn’s employer from further suspending Ms Quinn from work. At that time, Ms Quinn was already suspended from work pending an investigation into allegations of misconduct that had been previously made against her.

In coming to his decision, Justice Bromberg determined that Ms Quinn’s employer had failed to observe the statutory obligations imposed upon it by the Public Administration Act 2004 (Vic.). Relevantly, the Act required the employer to provide its employees with procedural fairness in certain circumstances, and required the employer generally to observe “public sector employment principles”.

Notably, Justice Bromberg also highlighted the important value the Court prescribes to the non-economic characteristics of employment. Specifically, his Honour considered that the workplace provides the person with advantages beyond mere economic benefit, stating:

“Work provides employees with purpose, dignity, pride, enjoyment, social acceptance and many social connections. These non-pecuniary attributes of work are important and their denial can be devastating to the legitimate interests of any worker, either skilled or unskilled.”

Justice Bromberg considered that Ms Quinn’s suspension by Victoria Police had the effect of denying Ms Quinn of such non-economic benefits in a manner that was sufficiently detrimental and ordered that Ms Quinn’s suspension be lifted and she be permitted by her employer to return to work.

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Your initial consultation with our Executive Employment Lawyers is on a fixed fee. If your case proceeds we operate on an hourly rate.

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