EMA Consulting is a trusted provider of external workplace investigation services, having conducted over a thousand investigations in both the public and private sector across Australia since 1997.
We can step in where employers do not have the internal capacity or skill to afford an investigation the time and attention it requires. As a result we have built significant expertise in the dealing with those matters that are complex or require independence.
WHO WE HELP
WHAT WE DO
Our highly trained and licensed consultants have experience conducting investigations from operational to executive and board levels of an organisation, on matters such as bullying and harassment, sexual and racial harassment, and misconduct investigations.
We can conduct any aspect of the investigation process depending on the client’s needs, and provide advice and recommendations to help achieve the most appropriate outcomes for the business. Our knowledge and expertise in investigations and how their findings can be used (or not used) is why clients trust us to deliver outcomes that address the industrial relations risks, employee safety and wellbeing, workplace culture, and leadership issues.
HOW WE DO IT
EMAC investigations are conducted based on well-established processes built by us over 24 years of conducting workplace investigations.
Before we commence, we seek to understand the purpose of the investigation and how the information may be used in the future. We take the time to explain how the scope and purpose impacts on what gets communicated to the witnesses and other investigation participants. We have template content readily available so that our clients feel empowered to lead the process with the confidence that their obligations are complied with, freeing them to focus on managing the wellbeing of those involved.
We are highly skilled at obtaining and assessing witness evidence that can be relied on in workplace investigations, and those that are challenged within the tribunals and courts. We make findings based on the rules and body of case law around issues such as a valid reason, balance of probabilities and what is reasonable in a workplace setting.
Importantly, we know how and when formal allegations fit into an investigation process and can help leaders to get it right without exposing the business to unnecessary industrial risk.
Employers often rely on external parties to conduct independent workplace investigations into allegations against employees or suspected misconduct. In South Australia only persons authorised under the Securities and Investigation Industry Act 1995 (SA) are permitted to conduct such investigations on a fee or reward basis.
Employers who engage external providers to conduct IR workplace investigations in South Australia must ensure that they are lawfully permitted to conduct those investigations, and that they have the essential industrial relations knowledge and experience to ensure that the correct issues at play are identified and investigated.
EMA Consulting in uniquely placed in this space. We are licensed to conduct workplace investigations and have the required industrial relations expertise to ensure that the investigation is fit for purpose.
Choosing an Investigator
Significant problems can flow if investigators are not chosen carefully. For example, licensed private investigators can collect evidence and statements, but can they properly identify and assess the key issues from an IR perspective?
Many employers may believe that professions such as lawyers or accountants are automatically authorised to conduct workplace investigation into employee conduct on behalf of the employer. However, in South Australia the exemption for licensing will only apply to legal practitioners or accountants where they are acting in the ‘ordinary course of their profession’ (eg providing legal/accounting advice) and will not apply if the investigation is undertaken for another purpose, such as for the employer to act on its findings.
Where a complaint concerns a particularly sensitive issue or presents a significant risk to the organisation, it may be recommended that legal professional privilege is established over an investigation report or recommendations. Where the dominant purpose of an investigation is to provide legal advice, it may be possible to establish privilege over such confidential communications.
Privilege may be established over an investigation where EMA Consulting is appointed by your internal legal counsel or an external legal provider. We can work with law firms to establish and maintain privilege where appropriate, or provide our clients with guidance to do so.
EMA Consulting partners with The Accountable Leader to provide subject matter expert advice on workplace investigations conducted by clients internally through MyEms.
The EMA Consulting investigation process has been embedded in MyEms which is used by approximately 6500 leaders across Australia to investigate and manage workplace behaviour and performance matters.