LAW5432 - Workplace investigations and misconduct - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Quota applies

Postgraduate programs are based on a model of small group teaching and therefore class sizes need to be restricted.

Unit guides


City (Melbourne)

  • Trimester 2 2017 (Day)


For postgraduate Law discontinuation dates, please see

For postgraduate Law unit timetables, please see

Previously coded as LAW7496


This unit explores the legal framework for workplace investigations in the private and public sectors in Australia and the role and significance of such investigations for discipline, job security, worker and workplace safety, compliance with laws and employment relations. Conducting an investigation in accordance with employment and administrative laws will be analysed; and the rights and obligations of employers, employees, witnesses and decision makers will be explored. Topics covered will include investigations into employee misconduct in the public and private sectors - legal issues; conducting workplace investigations of misconduct of employees; review of Federal and State legislative proposals concerning bullying and internal investigations; and the role of other bodies including the Fair Work Commission and the Fair Work Ombudsman, the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, in investigating employee misconduct.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  • Apply knowledge and understanding of the legal framework for workplace investigations and the sources of the power to undertake investigations of employees' misconduct in the workplace, both in the public sector and private sector with creativity and initiative to new situations in professional practice;
  • Investigate, analyse and synthesise complex information, problems, concepts and theories in relation to the process of workplace investigations including the nature of the investigating body and its powers, the right of representation, relation of the investigation to civil and criminal proceedings, and evidentiary and natural justice issues;
  • Conduct research into the impact of legislation relating to privacy and the retention of, and access to, records and the investigator's report, and the effect of legal professional privilege based on knowledge of appropriate research principle and methods; and
  • Use cognitive, technical and creative skills to generate and evaluate at an abstract level complex ideas and concepts relevant to the impact of legislative developments in unfair dismissal and general protections to employees, and bullying in particular under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and the role of institutions such as the Fair Work Commission in workplace misconduct.


Research assignment (3,000 words): 40%

Take-home examination (3,750 words): 50%

Class participation: 10%

Workload requirements

24 contact hours per semester (either intensive, semi-intensive or semester long, depending on the Faculty resources, timetabling and requirements)

Chief examiner(s)