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Assisting and guiding our clients through investigation processes

Slater and Gordon’s employment lawyers regularly represent clients in internal disciplinary investigations being carried out by their employers. We assist clients to ensure that natural justice is afforded to them, that the investigation process is fair and that they put their best case forward.

Employment investigations and disciplinary / grievance processes

Increasingly our employment lawyers have observed that employers are outsourcing disciplinary and grievance investigations to external investigators – whether it be a law firm or other professional workplace investigator. We can represent you in these investigations and ensure that your case is most effectively presented and properly investigated.

Slater and Gordon offers expert legal advice and assistance throughout the employment disciplinary process, including:

  • analysis of your case;
  • strategic advice as to how to present your case;
  • drafting your response to allegations;
  • ensuring natural justice is afforded to you;
  • ensuring you are afforded all your rights during the process;
  • bringing related claims for adverse action, unfair dismissal or discrimination where necessary; or
  • negotiating a termination of employment.

The way a disciplinary process is conducted varies from employer to employer. There are two steps in a disciplinary process: the investigation into any allegations that have been made, and the determination of the disciplinary penalty if allegations are found proven. The way that the disciplinary process, and these two steps, is conducted will vary from employer to employer and can be anything from a simple meeting, to a formal investigation by an external investigator.

The process can occur very quickly, or can be drawn out over a long period. We can tailor our advice and level of assistance to suit any Disciplinary process, and can take steps to ensure that the process is fair to you.

Being summoned to a disciplinary meeting can be distressing. There is a risk that the meeting could result in dismissal, a formal warning that the employee must improve, or some kind of sanction being taken. The right legal representation and support in a disciplinary process can make all the difference to the outcome.

If you have a grievance at work, Slater and Gordon can help. This could include drafting of the initial grievance, guidance prior to any investigation, written communications with your employer if appropriate, analysis of the grievance response and outcome, negotiation, dealing with any subsequent claim, whether for adverse action, discrimination, bullying and harassment or breach of contract.

Employees who submit a written grievance should be invited to a grievance meeting by their employer to discuss in more detail the complaints raised in writing. This can be daunting for many employees, but others see it as an opportunity to make their concerns heard.

Professional discipline investigations

Our lawyers are experts in representing professionals facing disciplinary and fitness to practise investigations by various regulatory bodies.

It is important to be aware, if your right to work is regulated by a professional body that any workplace investigation can lead to a referral to your professional body and have consequences for your potential to continue in your career.

Professional bodies with power to discipline members, including by removal of their right to practice, regulate the following employees:

  • Health Practitioners (Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Health Practitioner, Practitioner of Chinese Medicine, Chiropractor, Dentist, Doctor, Medical Radiation Practitioner, Occupational Therapist, Optometrist, Osteopath, Pharmacist, Physiotherapist, Podiatrist or Psychologist);
  • Lawyers;

  • Architects;

  • Professional Engineers;

  • Plumbers and Drainers;

  • Surveyors;

  • Property Agents;

  • Valuers;

  • Racing Personnel;

  • Teachers; and

  • Veterinary Surgeons.

In many cases, a professional body will seek an answer to issues raised with it by a member of the public, or an employee’s employer by carrying out an internal investigation, prior to deciding whether to commence professional disciplinary proceedings.

There may be an opportunity at an early stage to resolve the issue, or negotiate an outcome that ensures you maintain a right to continue to practice.

Slater and Gordon can communicate on your behalf with a professional body and engage in any negotiations on your behalf.

Professionals have the right to be accompanied by a lawyer at a professional discipline or fitness to practise hearing before their professional regulatory body.

Slater and Gordon can guide you through the complete process, providing you with the legal advice needed to ensure the best possible outcome. This includes an analysis of the case against you, how to respond, preparation for the hearing itself, and most importantly a strategy to achieve your aim.

Matters of professional discipline or fitness to practise are extremely serious. Being summoned to a professional disciplinary or fitness to practise hearing is a highly distressing situation for any professional to face, regardless of whether or not that individual believes themselves to be responsible for the alleged misconduct, or performance issue.

At a professional disciplinary or fitness to practise hearing your very future in your chosen profession can hang in the balance.

Disciplinary and fitness to practise hearing procedures vary widely from profession to profession, depending on the rules of the body regulating that profession. Professional discipline and fitness to practise hearings share a common characteristic in that they follow a highly intensive process involving a considerable amount of formal documentation and procedure. This can be extremely daunting, especially if you have not experienced such a procedure before.

Our expert lawyers can advise and support you through the complete process.

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