Question 110: When Employers suspect that Employees have violated labour disciplines, can they conduct an internal investigation that expands beyond the enterprise’s scope?

Currently, labour law only prescribes the investigation authority of state agencies for the case where Employees commit the acts of theft, embezzlement, gambling, deliberately injuring others, using drugs in the workplace, revealing trade secrets, technological know-how, infringing the Employer’s intellectual property rights, causing serious damage or threatening to cause extremely serious damage to the Employer’s properties and interests; Accordingly, Employers cannot impose disciplinary actions on Employees who are waiting for the investigation and verification results from investigation agencies[1].

Other than the regulations above, labour law does not have any regulation on the Employer’s investigation authority in searching for or verifying the evidence of Employees’ violations to impose disciplinary actions. However, based on the principle that Employers must provide the evidence of Employees’ violations before imposing disciplinary actions[2], it can be inferred that Employers can conduct an internal investigation to collect the evidence of Employees’ violations. As there are no regulations on the investigation, the process and method to conduct an investigation will actually be decided on by Employers so it is suitable for the enterprise and not against other regulations.

Concerning the scope of an internal investigation, the current labour law has not provided for this issue in detail. However, as the purpose of the ILRs is to maintain the enterprise’s internal order and Employers can only impose disciplinary actions on the violations that are prescribed in the ILRs[3], so in principle, the investigation to prove Employees’ faults can only be conducted within the enterprise. For example, Employers cannot impose disciplinary actions on Employees who commit gambling acts outside the enterprise’s premises though Employers can prove that, by an internal investigation, the Employees have committed such acts.

[1]Articles 123.4(c) and 126.1 Labor Code

[2]Article 123.1 (a) Labor Code

[3]Article 128.3 Labor Code