New Requirements for Workplace Investigations

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Increasingly employers are being required to undertake investigations into complaints or incidents prior to implementing any form of significant disciplinary action. In fact, Unjustified Dismissal claims within the Employment Relations Authority can be won or lost on the quality of the investigation undertaken by the employer.

With this process now becoming a more common requirement, a recent ruling of the Security Authority, a division of the Ministry of Justice, has added additional complexity to the Employer’s obligations and liabilities.

While an employer is not restricted from undertaking their own investigation, however this can often be challenged by the employee’s party for being biased, predetermined or not thorough enough. A successful challenge to the integrity of the internal investigation would therefore risk the disciplinary outcome.

The Security Authority have recently issued a determination, whereby, the only external parties who are now authorised to undertake independent investigations, including Workplace Investigations are; a Lawyer with a current Practicing Certificate or a Private Investigator.

Either authorised party should however be fully trained in undertaking independent workplace investigations and be a member of a professional body that sets professional standards for independent investigations.

We are therefore pleased to announce that Russell Drake has recently been approved by the Private Security Personnel Licensing Authority (PSPLA), a division of the Ministry of Justice, as a Licenced Private Investigator. As a member of the Association of Workplace Investigators, Russell now holds all applicable licences, training and qualifications to undertake all forms of independent workplace investigations.

This endorsement can now provide total confidence to all clients that any workplace investigation to be undertaken by Russell will meet the professional requirements of the Ministry, will meet the compliance requirements of the Private Security Personnel and Private Investigators Act 2010, and withstand any challenge of independence and integrity.

If you require any assistance in conducting an independent workplace investigation please feel free to contact Russell directly on

russell@russelldrakeconsulting.co.nz or phone 021 686 621

The scope of workplace investigations may include such areas as:

  • Bullying and Harassment
  • Dishonestly
  • Serious Misconduct Allegations
  • Conflict and Relationship Disputes

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