Julia Sutherland, Ashurst
Julia Sutherland, Ashurst

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The way misconduct allegations are put to an employee can have a significant impact on a workplace investigation, and is an area where employers often come unstuck, according to a lawyer.

It is important to be as specific and careful as possible when framing allegations so as not to "suggest a pre-determination of the issues", Ashurst partner Julia Sutherland says.

In a new HR Daily Premium webcast, she warns against using "legal labels" – such as 'sexual harassment' or 'theft' – when characterising the alleged conduct.

"This is something that I see commonly, and it is one thing that really can put the investigation on the wrong course."

Sutherland shares a best-practice approach to framing allegations in the presentation excerpt below.

In the full webcast, Sutherland discusses other procedural fairness essentials, support person do's and don'ts, lessons from case law, and much more (upgrade here for access if you're not a premium member).