Unfortunately there are times when SASSLA members might find themselves the subject of a misconduct disciplinary investigation. This could relate to the specific alleged actions of the member – for example employing a family member/close friend without due process. It could also relate to matters involving others, over which the site leader has responsibility – for example an alleged lack of, or breakdown in procedures resulting in potential injury to a student.
The member will receive a formal letter from the Director, Incident Management – Notice of Investigation in relation to report of misconduct which: briefly outlines the allegation; confirms the Department will conduct a full internal investigation into the matter to determine whether there is sufficient cause to conduct a disciplinary proceeding; and issues managerial directions. It is at this point that members should contact SASSLA seeking representation in all aspects of this process. SASSLA will communicate orally and in writing with the Department and will advocate on behalf of the member during the whole process.
The investigating officer will gather information and interview others to gain the relevant facts. Prior to any formal interview with the member under investigation, the investigating officer might seek to talk informally with the member to gather background information. This could be over the telephone or by site visit. Such discussions are never “off the record” and form part of the factual basis of the investigation report. Accordingly, it is critical that SASSLA members under investigation do not engage in such informal discussions with the investigating officer without first seeking advice and/or representation from SASSLA. Adverse conclusions can be drawn from these discussions which could negatively impact the outcome. This is not to interfere with the investigating officer’s rightful task of understanding the context of the situation and gathering relevant facts, rather this is to ensure the rights and interests of SASSLA members are protected at all points along the way.
SASSLA representation of members in disciplinary matters has made a positive difference to outcomes. Make sure you are actively represented by SASSLA in every aspect of any disciplinary process.