Planning and managing effective workplace investigations 

Adelaide | 10 September 2020 - Amelia Peters, Workplace Investigator and Practice Leader SA, Q Workplace Solutions 
Melbourne (now via live-stream instead) & Online | 14 September 2020 - Kerryn Tredwell, Workplace Investigator and Practice Leader NSW & VIC, Q Workplace Solutions
Brisbane | 16 September 2020 - Corlia Roos, Workplace Investigator and Practice Leader QLD, Q Workplace Solutions  
Sydney | 21 September - Kerryn Tredwell, Workplace Investigator and Practice Leader NSW & VIC, Q Workplace Solutions  
** Due to the evolving COVID-19 health risk in Victoria, the Workplace Investigations Workshop scheduled in Melbourne will now be a fully virtual ONLINE masterclass.  To deliver an effective workshop tailored for an online format, please note that the session timings of the online Workplace Investigations Workshop (14th September) will slightly differ from the in-person workshop**   
Registration & welcome coffee: 8:30 am  |  Course duration: 9am - 4:30pm, including networking breaks 

Workshop Overview  

When allegations of sexual or racial harassment, discrimination, bullying, or other serious wrongdoing or incompatibility are made, a timely and robust investigation by an experienced investigator is key to achieving a procedurally fair resolution for all parties involved. 
This workshop will take an in-depth look at unique factors influencing investigations. Plus, how you can conduct an investigation determine the scope, and set expectations of people involved in investigation processes. 
Be sure to attend this Workplace Investigations Masterclass - an interactive training course which will help you unravel the complexities of workplace investigations. 

Learning objectives 

Attending this interactive workshop will enable you to: 
  1. Understand the fundamentals of procedurally fair investigations 
  2. Know the three key phases of an investigation 
  3. Have practised key tasks involved in conducting effective workplace investigations 
  4.  Understand how to manage common issues that may arise during the course of a workplace investigation 
  5. Know how to finalise an investigation 


Procedural fairness and the regulatory framework 
  • Procedural fairness, ensuring independence, transparency, and standards of proof
  • An overview of the practical implications of key legislation 
Preliminary issues to consider 
  • Factors influencing whether an investigation should be undertaken 
  • Identifying an investigator - internal or external?
  • Legal professional privilege 
  • Ascertaining the purpose and scope of the investigation 
  • Timeframe for investigations 
Conducting an effective investigation process 
  • Evidence gathering prior to interviews 
  • Deciding who to interview and in what order 
  • Setting expectations of people involved 
  • Record keeping and confidentiality 
  • Investigative interview techniques and style - balancing sensitivity with the need to ensure robust investigation 
Managing difficult issues in investigations 
  • Conflicts of interest 
  • Sick/stress leave 
  • Requests for anonymity and silence 
  • Information requests 
  • Managing difficult representatives 
  • Maintaining independence 
  • Evaluating the evidence
  • Tips on how to make well-reasoned findings of fact, assessments of credibility and determining whether factual findings meet relevant legal definitions
  • What should and shouldn't a report contain?
  • Likely outcomes of the investigation process 
  • Q&A closing session - get the most out of the course and pre-submit questions 
This training is facilitated by specialist investigations firm Q Workplace Solutions. They conduct investigations for major law firms, public sector organisations and private sector businesses, cross-industry.  

Planning and managing effective workplace investigations (Perth Only)

Perth | 23 September 2020 
Registration & welcome coffee: 8:30 am  |  Course duration: 9am - 4:30pm, including networking breaks 

Workshop Overview 

This workshop will equip with the skills to conduct workplace investigations that are fair, efficient, effective, and draft reports that will satisfy the requirements of internal stakeholders and when necessary, withstand the scrutiny of commissions, courts and tribunals. 
There are myriad forms of misconduct that occur in workplaces, chief among them bullying, racial and sexual harassment, breaches of policies and codes of conduct, discrimination, assault, and corrupt behaviour. Each type of allegation calls for a practical, tailored response that adheres to the underlying principles of procedural fairness, and competently assesses complex sources of evidence, both documentary and personal. 
This workshop will traverse many key topics and issues that arise in investigations of all types. It will be practical and interactive, spanning the process from assessing whether you need to investigate, to choosing the investigator, formulating terms of reference and allegations, communications with parties, the principles applicable to assessing evidence, and the ultimate content of reports. Along the way, many other common and complicating factors will be discussed,  such as an employee illness, absence or obstruction, difficulties with representatives, and the existence of concurrent performance management or legal claims, such as workers compensation.

Learning objectives 

This interactive workshop will equip you with the following practical takeaways you can use in your next investigation:
  1. When and how to initiate a workplace investigation 
  2. How to gather and competently evaluate evidence of all types 
  3.  The contents of an effective and legally defensible investigation report
  4. How to manage concurrent issues such as illness, poor performance and workers compensation in the context of an investigation 
  5. How to minimise the risks of litigation arising from employee complaints, their investigation, and ultimate disciplinary outcomes 



When to investigate
  • Which types of allegations require investigation?
  • Considering other appropriate means to resolve an issue
  • The legislative requirements that should inform the the decisions to investigate 
  • The consequences of not investigating
  • The risks of litigation to consider when initiating an investigation 
  • The relevance of enterprise agreements, contracts, and employer policies 
  • Choosing an investigator: who should be the investigator and who must not 
  • The benefit of legal professional privilege and the appropriate use of lawyers 
  • Considerations for setting timeframes: balancing evidence gathering, proper consideration and avoiding reputational damage to participants 
  • Dealing with concurrent performance issues or complaints made seemingly in response to performance management 
Investigation participants in the workplace 
  • How to manage the continuing presence presence of investigation participants in the workplace 
  • Avoiding allegations of "adverse action" by participants 
  • When and how the investigator should communicate with participants 
  • When a suspension is appropriate and legally permitted  
  • Practical steps to protect the integrity of the investigation and prevent victimisation 
Conducting an effective investigation process 
  • The importance of confidentiality 
  • How to frame allegations 
  • Evidence gathering; types, sources and methods 
  • The role of external, forensic experts in complex cases 
  • Considerations on the order of interviews 
  • How to frame and order questions (and how not to) 
  • The role of support people and legal or union representatives 
  • How to deal with reluctant participants 
  • When may a request for anonymity be granted?
  • The impact of employee illness or absence 
  • Distraught or uncooperative witnesses 
  • The role of reasonable and lawful directives in investigations 
  • Managing expectations of internal stakeholders 
  • Is there a right not to answer questions?
Assessment of evidence 
  • The application and interpretation of contracts, enterprise agreements, legislation, policies and codes 
  • How to evaluate and give appropriate 'weight' to evidence by applying appropriate legal principles 
  • Contradictory evidence 
  • The use and importance of directions to maintain confidentiality 
  • The use of documentary evidence, including electronic material 
  • Recordings and transcriptions
  • What is "credibility" and how is it reasonably assessed? 
Content of report 
  • Topics that must be covered 
  • Topics that may be covered 
  • Findings distinguished from recommendations and observations 
  • The discussions of evidence 
  • Appropriate use of annexures 
  • The form of witness statements 
After the report 
  • The distinction between the investigation and its consequences 
  • Appropriate decision-makers on disciplinary consequences 
  • Maintaining privilege and the circulation of the report
  • Managing the risk of "adverse action" claims
  • How, when and what to communicate to all participants
  • Who is entitled to know the findings or the outcome?
  • The role of the report and the investigator in subsequent legal proceedings 
Throughout the course, practical examples will be discussed, drawn from case law, as well as interactive examples that will be up for discussion. Your questions, comments and insights will be welcomed throughout. A workbook, templates and presentation slides will be provided to delegates to take back to the workplace. 

Facilitated by: Elizabeth Moran, Senior Associate, Mills Oakley 
Elizabeth Moran is an experience employment lawyer. She has been practising for more that 15 years in Western Australia. Her particular expertise lies in advising clients on anti-discrimination and equal opportunity law, and General Protections matters. She conducts independent workplace investigations into allegations of all types of misconduct. 
Elizabeth also advises in relation to all types of termination issues, including unfair dismissals, redundancy processes and post-employment restraints. She provides training in the area of anti-discrimination and anti-bullying. She also drafts employment policies across a wide range of areas and advises on the implementation of policies. 
Elizabeth has advised clients across the full spectrum of industry sectors, including mining, oil and gas, building and construction, logistics, defence, sport, entertainment, hospitality and other service industries. She has provided employer representation in courts and commissions (Fair Work Commission; Federal Court of Australia; Federal Circuit Court of Australia; WA IndustrialRelations Commission; Equal Opportunity Commission, State Administrative Tribunal). She has also appeared as an advocate in the Fair Work Commission (conducting trials and appeals). 

Adelaide | 11 September 
Melbourne (now via live-stream) | 15 September  
Brisbane | 17 September
Sydney & Online | 22 September
Perth | 24 September
** Due to the evolving COVID-19 health risk in Victoria, the HR Law Masterclass Conference scheduled in Melbourne will now be a fully virtual ONLINE masterclass.  Registered delegates will be emailed the details regarding the live-streaming. 


Welcome address from Chairperson, including a summary of likely focus areas by the Fair Work Commission following reforms and protections introduced during the recent health and economic crisis. 


The COVID-19 pandemic has added an additional layer of complexity for both employers and employees. What emerging HR trends, legal obligation and organisational risks should business be aware of? How can businesses minimise legal and HR risks and remain compliant in this climate of uncertainty?

Join panellists for a high-level discussion on the changing dynamics in the workplace, with other sessions in the day dealing with specific aspects in a more detail. 


  • Understanding the legalities of all your options - redeployment, stand-downs, reducing hours or redundancies 
  • Ensuring redundancy is used for the correct reason, and not as a fix for other underlying issues 
  • Effectively managing your legal obligations through a fair and genuine consultation 
  • Navigating the impacts parental leave, extended leave, workers compensation or other negotiated leave may have on a restructure and redundancy process and how to safely negotiate these 
  • What considerations need to be made when offering redeployment or alternative positions? What are your options and obligations if an employee declines the offer of alternative positions?
  • How to demonstrate to a court that a restructure of redundancy is genuine, fair and reasonable and the genuine business need for this 
  • Reviewing  recent cases where redundancy has been challenged by an employee and how has the COVID-19 health and economic crisis impacted the decision 



  • Understanding the legal scope of general protection claims and adverse action claims relating to actions, perceived or threats of actions 
  • Identifying the triggers for adverse action claims, and considerations for your organisation; mitigating risks through robust processes 
  • When defending a claim - what does it take and how can you build this into your processes 
  • Understanding the reverse onus of proof and what the practicalities of this are for your organisation
  • What are employers' options when it comes to adverse action claims and what do you need to consider when deciding on your course of action 
  • Reviewing recent cases and outcomes to better improve your organisations' processes and mitigate risk 


  • Understanding all legal obligations from the various legislations and what this means for your organisations 
  • Developing your internal systems in preventing, reporting, investing and addressing unsavoury workplace behaviours to protectively mitigate your risks and vicarious liability 
  • Utilising a risk managements approach to identify and address teams, departments or locations that are at higher risks 
  • Informal or formal managing of complaints - what considerations need to be made when planning your approach 
  • Managing all parties' expectations, interest and wellbeing through the process 
  • The role mediation can play in getting parties back into the workplace, and when is it not appropriate - are there any alternate approaches?
  • What can organisations learn from recent case decisions and remedies 



  • Navigating and meeting the legal obligations of the various legislations: WHS, Fair Work Act 
  • Developing your safety system to support the recognition of psychological risk, mental health warning signs, workplace risks and triggers to proactively manage your obligations 
  • How can a risk management approach be used in the prevention of stress, mental illness through the identification and mitigation of organisation or environmental risks factors?
  • Addressing the challenges, the post COVID-19 workplace has on meeting your work health and safety obligations and associate risks 
  • Understanding considerations around reasonable workload, working hours and stress level in an environment already under economic and challenging circumstances 
  • The role of the employer in supporting employees during times in crisis, or other challenging times, where does your obligation end in providing supporting 
  • Have we learnt anything from the early days of the COVID-19 health, economical and mental health crisis? Do organisations have additional responsibilities during the time of global crisis or stress? 


  • Identifying what is difficult behaviour and unproductive workplace behaviour, and what drives it - particularly, following the recent interruptions relating to the health and economic crisis 
  • Considerations when having conversations around conduct; how to address difficult and unproductive behaviours informally 
  • Difficult behaviours, performance issues or serious misconduct; navigating the intersection and developing your approach to mitigate your legal risks and achieve your desired outcome 
  • Disciplinary meetings and addressing conduct in a formal manner; navigating these in an effective, compliant and respectful manner 
  • Managing expectations, interests and wellbeing for stakeholders, involved; what should you disclose during these conversations
  • Identifying the common mistakes that can undermine the process and expose the organisation to risks and how to avoid these 
  • Recent cases and what they mean for your organisations process for managing difficult and unproductive behaviours 



  • How can organisations effectively measure and develop robust performance 
  • Identifying the impact a tight economy and a stressed workplace can have on establishing and meeting performance measures to realistically performance 
  • Understanding how mental health risks impact the performance improvement process and how can organisations compassionately navigate these 
  • Common pitfalls organisations get trapped in during the performance improvement process and how can you mitigate through a vigorous and documented process 
  • Managing the termination process to ensure fair, reasonable and just actions 
  • Ways organisations can risk proof their performance processes and avoid legal claims, and financial and reputational claims 
  • Understanding recent cases and what organisation can learn to improve their processes 


  • When, why and how would you use technology to monitor staff and the legal implications 
  • Understanding the pressure it can put on the working relationship and how to counteract and negative impacts 
  • 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?
  • Ensuring the security of and safeguarding employee data, including surveillance and personal information 
  • Considerations when relying on this evidence to support accusations, claims or performance issues 


  • What are your legal obligations and additional risks when managing remote workers, either from home or remote sites with restricted access 
  • Establishing safety standards and requirements for those working from home or with limited supervision 
  • Your obligations and role in mitigating bullying, harassment and sexual harassment and risks to psychological safety when employees are working from home and/or on their own devices
  • Identifying when work starts and finishes, and the implications for performance, accusations and workers compensations 
  • When home becomes the workplace, and after-hour behaviours that impact the working relationship, eg.,  social media, drug and alcohol usage, what can you manage and what can you regulate 
  • Does the business case for flexible and remote working outweigh the additional risks; is remote working a new norm 
  • Other legal implications organisations may need to consider with remote workers, including privacy 


A short summary of the conference - reviewing key takeaways 

Effectively Managing Performance

Brisbane (now via live-stream) | 18 September 2020 
**Due to the evolving COVID-19 health risk, the Effectively Managing Performance workshop is now an online masterclass. To deliver an effective workshop tailored for an online format, please note that the online masterclass will now run from 9am-3:30pm.**
Registration: 8:30 am  |  Course duration: 9am - 3:30pm

Workshop Overview 

This workshop will look at practical approached to working with both managers and employees to address performance, minimise HR risks, and come to the right decisions. It will also explore the fact that there are times when you can run the best process in the world and the employee still looks to raise a personal grievance or legal claim, and the workshop will address how to proceed under those conditions. 

Why attend

Attend this workshop to achieve better performance management outcomes. One of the most difficult, time-consuming and intense roles of an HR practitioner is navigating performance complexities. 


  • Identifying the main types of poor performing employees 
  • Profiling common management and HR practices which can contribute to performance issues 
  • Creating socially safer workplaces 
  • Investigating common legal claims resulting from ineffective management and poor performance management processes, including confusing misconduct with performance, constructive dismissal, bullying, stress and adverse action claims. 

  • Looking at managerial authority, responsibility for managing performance and how HR can support management to step up 
  • Effectively managing the employment relationship, including out of hours conduct and social media 
  • Recognising most common performance issues can be 'overused strengths'
  • Holding effective one-on-ones, and giving frequent feedback for improved performance 

  • Using DISC to understand communication styles and how they impact communication in the workplace 
  • Using communication styles as a tool to more effectively deal with performance issues 

  • Having crucial conversations along with performance pathway, and ensuring their effectiveness 
  • Framing performance issues and what you are measuring performance against 
  • Dealing with misaligned performance perceptions of the employee 
  • Engaging in low versus high-intensity crucial conversations - informal versus formal approaches 
  • Documenting crucial conversations 
  • Determining the right decisions and justifying reasonable management actions 
  • Overcoming problems with traditional performance appraisals 
  • Aligning managerial and HR effectiveness with acceptable standards for the organisation 
  • Avoiding complex performance or disciplinary processes that are ineffective 
  • Minimising potential legal risks and consequences of performance improvement processes 
  • Practice by role-playing crucial conversations, and creating crucial tailored emails for performance 
  • Scenarios which can have escalating problems 
  • Using crucial conversations to avoid legal claims such as unfair dismissal, general protections, bullying and psychological injury or stress 
  • How to proceed in the face of legal claims in grievances 
Facilitated by: David Dilger, Director, Edge Legal  
David Dilger has strong experience in advising on factors relating to performance, and scenarios which arise during performance processes. His advice has a r real practical edge to it - drawn from legal experience, and senior executive roles in the telecommunications, franchising and agricultural industries, plus a peak employer organisation. This includes leading an organisation to be a national finalist and joint state winner of the AHRI People Management Awards.