In 2020, the chief executive of the Jockey Club resigned after an independent inquiry confirmed allegations against her of bullying, racist comments and the circulation of offensive material. In normal circumstances that might have been the end of the matter for the Jockey Club.
However, the Daily Telegraph has reported that some of the Jockey Club’s members are planning to ask the organisation for clear evidence that recent allegations of inappropriate behaviour have been properly investigated. Staff had complained about sexism, misogyny, racism and bullying and will be pressing senior executives to show how the complaints were dealt with.
The Jockey Club has said that that all the complaints were investigated thoroughly, but some members are apparently still concerned about how these investigations were conducted. They are also reported to be asking how informal grievances and concerns have been addressed in the past.
What does this tell us about how organisations should deal with allegations of serious workplace misconduct? It is not enough for management simply to state that the allegations have been dealt with, and to hope that this will be enough to reassure staff that they have been taken seriously.
Concerns can still linger about a lack of transparency if it is not clear how issues were investigated and what actions were taken as a result. This is especially true if specific allegations about individuals reflected wider concerns in the workforce.
There is a balance to be struck between respecting the privacy of individuals in an investigation and publishing the details of the process that was followed. Our approach at Verita is to investigate issues thoroughly and to produce reports that show our workings.
Setting out how the investigation has been commissioned, specified and conducted is an important element in ensuring that the investigation has been well managed. We know that it is always possible that our reports could be published, so it is important for us to ensure that our evidence, analysis and conclusions can stand up to internal and external scrutiny.
Our training course for investigation skills is CPD accredited and is the ideal way for HR and line managers to develop the key skills they need to conduct workplace investigations. The training can be personalised to fit with any organisation’s existing HR policies and procedures.