8. Who should investigate and/or chair? Manager? HR? Neutral?
The ideal investigator would be someone more senior than the accused employee; who has knowledge of the type of work the accused carries out in order to contextualise the issue; without bias or the opportunity to be accused of bias. Where technical knowledge is required to understand the accusation – someone with relevant experience should be sought in the first instance.
If there is no one available who fits the bill (or their involvement would cause a major delay e.g. because they are on parental leave) then the nearest approximation should be considered. This can include those working in HR. If the accusation against the employee does not stem from or involve their manager then their manager could be the investigator but regard should be had for the potentially on-going working relationship between the two.
In most cases the employee should be given the opportunity to appeal the disciplinary outcome to someone more senior than the original investigator. That should be considered before the original investigator is selected. Where the accused employee is very senior, the original investigator may need to be at that person’s own level to allow for someone more senior to deal with any appeal.