Investigations

Internal corporate investigations into allegations of misconduct are common features of the employment landscape. Investigations may have to examine serious matters such as allegations of discrimination, harassment or victimisation (involving any one of the protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010) or allegations such as whistleblowing or bullying.

3PB has a specialist team of barristers which has considerable experience of conducting complex investigations. Members of the team have conducted investigations within a diverse range of sectors, including biotechnology, construction, education, fire services, healthcare, legal and other professional services, local government, manufacturing, media and marketing, police, retail and sport.

Often, the allegations are multifaceted and complex, and investigations into internal disciplinary or grievance matters may operate in parallel with external regulators or the police.

Our dedicated team of barristers provide the following services:

  • Acting as an independent investigator, investigating the allegations before producing a detailed report
  • Conducting special internal investigations reporting to the Board (which may or may not be legally privileged depending on the approach sought)
  • Advising behind the scenes before matters have become formal
  • Assisting with drafting clear Terms of Reference
  • Providing legal support and advice where investigations are being conducted ‘in house’
  • Presenting the management case at grievance and disciplinary and appeal hearings
  • Sitting on grievance and disciplinary panels, either in an advisory capacity or as the decision maker; conducting appeals and mediating workplace disputes
  • Drafting disciplinary, grievance, Equal Opportunities and Dignity at Work policies and procedures
  • Drafting whistleblowing policies and procedures
  • Providing training to managers who are designated officers involved in conducting investigations or who are appointed to chair disciplinary or grievance hearings and appeals

The members of the team are all experts in the employment law field and are fully up to date with standards of HR best-practice. The team has a considerable wealth of experience in conducting workplace investigations, preparing detailed reports and producing recommendations (where necessary) for grievance and disciplinary panels, and advising or sitting as a member of panels. We are recognised by the pre-eminent legal directories for our expertise in employment and industrial relations.

Additionally, our barristers:

  • Have many years of unrivalled, high-level experience, gained through appearing in Employment Tribunals and appellate courts, with particular insight into the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of handling investigations, grievance and disciplinary procedures
  • Possess in-depth understanding of employment law and its recent developments
  • Will quickly identify the relevant issues in any situation, analyse complex facts, test evidence and produce clear and well-reasoned written reports and decisions
  • Have a full understanding of what needs to be done to ensure that a fair process is followed
  • Are skilled in handling difficult and sensitive investigations alongside the need for astute legal analysis
  • Operate on a nationwide basis and can typically offer value for money compared with our competitors
  • Have the strength in depth and capacity to support at very short and urgent notice
  • Are reassuringly independent and impartial
  • Are personable and approachable
  • Respect confidentiality at all times

Recent investigations include:

  • Multiple workplace investigations into grievances which include allegations of discrimination
  • Assisting with internal investigations for solicitors’ firms (involving allegations of sex discrimination and harassment)
  • Investigations as part of disciplinary hearings and grievances in cases involving disabilities or suspected disabilities, especially those involving mental health
  • Multiple investigations on behalf of various regional NHS Health Boards and local fire services into allegations of race discrimination
  • Investigations for sporting bodies into allegations of bullying and sexual misconduct against national coaches and performance managers
  • Independent reviews of earlier investigations for UK PLC’s and sporting bodies, particularly into allegations of past bullying and ill-treatment
  • Workplace investigations for employers following whistleblowing allegations
  • Independent investigations of senior executives, allowing solicitors to give legally privileged advice to Boards of our Investigation Reports
  • Provision of investigation training and disciplinary hearings management for various organisations within the Healthcare Sector

If you would like further information or wish to instruct someone from the Employment Investigations Team, please contact Russell Porter on russell.porter@3pb.co.uk or call him on 0330 332 2633.