The quality of an allegation can make or break your investigation, and the resulting disciplinary or industrial outcomes. We strongly encourage peer review of your allegations before they are issued, but even if you’re working alone this checklist will help you produce quality allegations in every case.

Have you got your language and structure right? Allegations are a statement about what rule might have been breached, but it needs a particular to be procedurally fair. A particular is a statement of alleged fact which, if it occurred, would constitute a policy breach.

Is each particular obviously improper? Each particular must be misconduct, so the words you use must clearly articulate the wrongdoing. A particular like “A spoke firmly to B without giving B time to respond” is not necessarily misconduct.

Are your particulars all conduct issues? Although performance issues can sometimes justify disciplinary allegation, this should not be by way of allegations. One common error is to include failure to prevent or manage issues as particulars: these are usually a failure to do ones job, not wrongdoing. These issues should only be particulars in circumstances where the conduct was intentional, reckless, or seriously negligent. A particular like “A failed to stop B from yelling at C” is probably not misconduct; whereas “A told B to yell at C” is misconduct.

Have you included the right amount of detail? A particular should provide the Who, What, Where, When and How of the conduct, with enough specifics for the responding party to identify the circumstances – and no more. Any other information does not belong in the allegation. “On Tuesday the 2nd of April, A called B a ‘worthless lump’ during the morning meeting” is enough information. Adding “in the presence of D, E and F, causing B to feel humiliated” is too much information.

Teamwork makes the dream work, and sometimes the dream is fair, functional allegations. If you and your team are looking to improve or systematise your practice, check out our classes at or call us on 1300 580 685.


Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash