Consider suspending the employee
In the case of misconduct, you might need to suspend the employee while you look into the matter and take the next steps, to protect the business, people and evidence while you investigate. You should only suspend somebody if this is a reasonable way of dealing with the situation. If you do decide to suspend the employee, you can consider using a Suspension letter.
You must suspend an employee on full pay and benefits. Make suspensions as short as possible and tell the employee this doesn’t mean that you assume they’re guilty.
If a suspension means the employee can't earn commissions, performance-related pay or use their work benefits, only suspends them if their contract allows it. If it's not covered in the contract and you still want to suspend, Ask a lawyer for specialist advice.
Investigate the facts
You should collect evidence and interview witnesses; ask for relevant information or witnesses. Investigate as soon as you can. Speak to witnesses before they forget and think about whether evidence needs to be secured quickly (eg emails that might be auto-deleted or CCTV that might be wiped).
Always investigate enough to know all the facts, even if they seem obvious, and to clearly explain to the employee under scrutiny exactly what you think they have done. But don't go on 'fishing expeditions'. Keep the investigation confidential and don’t imply anyone’s guilt through your words or actions.
If possible, have a different person conduct the investigation from the person who’ll decide on the disciplinary action. Don’t invade anyone’s privacy and bear in mind that except in extreme circumstances, there should be no hidden surveillance. Don’t read personal documents or emails and don’t break data protection rules.
Sometimes it helps to ask the employee questions but make it clear that any investigatory interview is not a disciplinary hearing. The employee can respond to the allegations later.
Interview the witnesses
Keep all interviews private and tell witnesses any conversation must stay confidential. Try not to put words in people’s mouths, so ask open questions. Get someone else to take notes and, if possible, get the witness to sign the notes or a statement to confirm they agree with its contents.
If a witness asks for anonymity, try to talk them out of it. It’s possible to use anonymous evidence (eg where a witness is worried about reprisals) but you’ll need to put special safeguards in place.
Decide whether to take formal action
Before taking any further formal action, review the evidence and think about whether a better course would be a quick private chat, to explain what the problem is and what formal action you'll take if the employee doesn't respond in the right way but do not threaten dismissal.
If you go for an informal approach, after the conversation, always put a note on the employee's HR file or send them an email confirming the chat.
If the problem occurs again, you can still take formal action later, but you can't normally re-open an incident you've already dealt with informally.
If there is no case to answer, then confirm to the employee that your investigation has finished and that no further action will be taken. If they were suspended, then confirm they should return to work.
If evidence justifies further action then you will need to arrange a disciplinary hearing.