Investigating Suspected Misconduct
If you, as an employer, suspect that an employee has been involved in suspected misconduct, you must investigate the matter before making any decision to discipline the employee.
Proving the allegations beyond reasonable doubt and keeping to strict legal rules on evidence are unnecessary - a reasonable belief of guilt based on a fair, sensible, timely and considered investigation will suffice. Witness statements on key issues should be taken and all relevant documents should be examined. Particular caution will be needed to avoid interference where there are ongoing or pending criminal proceedings and where informants are involved.
Generally the accused employee should be given copies of all documentation and given an opportunity to prepare his case having been told of the allegations against him before a disciplinary hearing takes place.
Powers to Suspend
If an employee is under investigation, particularly for suspected misconduct, you may wish to suspend him on a precautionary basis. This power of suspension should only be used reasonably and should be based on an express power reserved in the employment contract. A precautionary suspension should be with full pay.
Conduct of Investigations
The conduct of investigations should be addressed in your disciplinary procedure. If not, the ACAS Disciplinary Code will be applied by the employment tribunal. Any internal procedure which you lay down should obviously be followed.