Agenda

Bullying & Sexual Harassment Workplace Investigations Workshop 

 
Sydney: 10 March | Melbourne: 15 March | Perth: 17 March | Brisbane: 23 March 
 
 
Workshop Overview 
 
 
When faced with a bullying or sexual harassment complaint, it is usually a sign that something has gone seriously wrong and an appropriate outcome is expected. This creates the pressure to act quickly and effectively both within and outside of the organisation. Scrutiny by the workplace, courts/tribunals and the media of the actual organisational response has never been as immediate, rigourous and complex. Organisationally, industrially and operationally, the stakes are high.  
Responding to and managing bullying and sexual harassment complaints through to an investigation requires a special skill set. Too often, those required to manage such processes and outcomes are ill-equipped to do so having had no practical experience of both the emotional and technical difficulty of handling such processes.
 
Why Attend 
 
 
This training provides participants with the ability to practically apply a hypothetical scenario (based on current case law) from start to finish, including the provision of: letters, process documents (which participants will tailor for their own organisational requirements throughout the training), and a role-play under the guidance of experienced senior lawyers to test implementation throughout the training. The focus will be upon creating a 'real-life experience' for participants so that they can apply the practical realities of this challenging set of circumstances to their own workplace should the need arise in the future.
 
 
Learning objectives 
 
  • Appropriately receive, respond to and manage bullying and/or sexual harassment complaints;
  • Identify and implement the causes of the infringing behaviour and most effective response action for better outcomes;
  • Learn and apply the most effective processes for investigating bullying and/or sexual harassment matters;
  • Create tailored investigation templates for your business to apply into the future for similar matters and/or train others in your team; and
  • Develop and hone existing skills through practising a hypothetical case study and solving common investigation issues. 
 

Workshop Agenda 

 
8:30 | Registration and welcome coffee
 
Course duration: 9:00 am-4:30 pm, including networking breaks
 
HYPOTHETICAL CASE STUDY 
 
  • Introduction to the employees in the workplace 
  • Receipt of the sexual harassment and bullying complaint
 
INITIAL RESPONSE 
 
  • triage issues to identify likely causes of the complaint and alternative methods of resolution;
  • implement the right reasonable response action for better outcomes with reference to applicable workplace policies and procedures;
  • understand the types of investigations;
  • determine whether an investigation is necessary or not;
  • understand the implications of applicable enterprise agreements, policies and contracts of employment;
  • identify an investigator within the organisation or external; 
  • claim and maintain legal professional privilege 
 
PLANNING AND PREPARING FOR THE INVESTIGATION
 
  • create a clearly defined scope letter;
  • frame allegations and provide meaningful particulars;
  • communicate with relevant parties;
  • understand the practical application of legal terms such as standard of proof and natural justice/ procedural fairness;
  • prepare an investigation plan including establishing timeframes
 
THE INVESTIGATION PROCESS
 
Conducting an effective investigation process 
 
  • gather evidence; 
  • decide who to interview and in what order;
  • set expectations of stakeholders; 
  • keep accurate and confidential records;
  • determine whether to use experts or not;
  • protect confidentiality;
  • develop investigative interview techniques and style;
  • troubleshoot common investigation issues and legal risks;
 
FINALISING THE INVESTIGATION AND NEXT STEPS 
 
  • review evidence including resolving issues such as 'credit worthiness' and drawing adverse inferences;
  • make well-reasoned findings of fact;
  • compile a report
 
Throughout the workshop, participants will apply the case study to develop their own set of tailored example documents to take back to their workplace and apply, if necessary, at a later stage – as well as the presenter’s own best practice examples .  These documents will be supplemented by current case law and actual examples from the presenter’s experience as a lawyer and HR Manager.  In addition each participant will also get a workbook, presentation slides and notes to supplement their worked examples.
 
 

Workshop Leader 

 
 
David Dilger, Director, Edge Legal 
 
 
David is a co-founder of Edge Legal. He has particular expertise in industrial relations and safety. David’s advice has a real practical edge to it drawn from experience in various senior executive management roles in the telecommunications, franchising and agriculture industries – even leading one organisation to a National Finalist and Joint State Winner of the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) People Management Awards.
David fundamentally understands the IR system from an employer perspective, having been the Chief Workplace Relations Officer of a peak Employer Organisation where he delivered training to businesses on behalf of the Federal Government following the introduction of the Fair Work Act. He has been instrumental in enterprise bargaining strategy, particularly in organisations with workforces over 500 people and multiple Unions.

Sydney: 11 March | Melbourne: 16 March | Perth: 18 March | Brisbane: 24 March 

08:50

09:05

  • Addressing changes in working arrangements, leave, pay, flexible working and health and safety measures.
  • Reviewing COVID-19 guidelines and ensuring compliance with the health and safety legislation. What if there is a breach of safety and non-compliance in the workplace?
  • Establishing safety standards and protocols for employees working remotely with limited supervision and employees returning to the office.
  • Dealing with an employee’s resistance to return to work.

09:45

  • Developing your safety system to support the recognition of psychosocial hazards, psychological risk, mental health warning signs, domestic violence risk and other workplace risks 
  • Working with medical experts who are treating the employee - what can you request, and dealing with non-responsive employees and doctors 
  • Accommodating workers compensation claims, and dealing with issues around causation 
  • Dealing with absent employees, and avoiding discrimination claims when dealing with medical incapacity due to mental health issues 

10:25

The Morrison Government has asked the Attorney General to look at how the industrial relations and Government policy can be enhanced to capture productivity improvements from more harmonious workplace relations. 
  • New Approaches Program
  • Overseas experiences with cooperative workplaces 
  • Cooperative processes in enterprise bargaining and organisational change
  • Support employee engagement and productivity
  • Reduce adversarial behaviour 

11:05

11:20

  • Being proactive, implementing effective training, thereby reducing risk and vicarious liabilities; and instigating different ways for employees to report inappropriate workplace behaviour 
  • Update on the Respect@Work: National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces – 2020 
  • Knowing how to proceed when a complainant requests anonymity or an informal approach 
  • Alternative possibilities to investigations and when this may be appropriate
  • Your obligations and role in mitigating inappropriate workplace behaviour when employees are working from home and/or on their own devices 

12:00

  • Reviewing the broad array of triggers for general protections claims - Coercion, undue influence or pressure and misrepresentations
  • Is a contractual term a workplace right?
  • Understanding legal remedies and financial damages possible under general protections claims 
  • Considerations for deciding whether to settle or challenge a General Protections claim 

12:40

  • Understanding the legalities of all your options – stand-downs, variations or redundancies and how has the COVID-19 health and economic crisis impacted the decisions 
  • Navigating the impacts parental leave, extended leave, workers compensation or other negotiated leave may have on a restructure or redundancy process and how to safely negotiate these 
  • Minimising termination risks for fixed term and rolling contracts 
  • Effectively implementing changes to contract terms. 

01:20

02:05

02:50

03:05

  • How can organisations effectively measure and develop robust performance improvements processes 
  • Addressing the impact that a tight economy and a stressed workplace can have on establishing and meeting performance measures to realistically measure performance 
  • Difficult behaviours, performance issues or serious misconduct; navigating the intersection and mitigate your legal risks and achieve your desired outcome 
  • Raising and responding to concerns about behaviour – informal approaches vs. formal or facilitated meetings

03:45

  • When, why and how would you use technology to monitor staff and the legal implications
  • Data security, breaches and your obligations 
  • Ensuring the security of and safeguarding employee data, including surveillance and personal information 
  • Identifying a reasonable parameter around the monitoring of staff including remote and working from home – where is the line between monitoring and an invasion of privacy? 
  • Considerations when relying on this evidence to support accusations, claims or performance issues

04:25

04:40