Question 129. When an Employer suspects that an Employee has violated labour discipline, can the Employer conduct an internal investigation that expands beyond the enterprise’s scope of territory?


The Labour Code only prescribes the investigation authority of State agencies in cases where an Employee commits an act 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, sexually harassing others in the workplace as prescribed in the ILR. Accordingly, it could be understood that the Employer cannot impose disciplinary actions on an Employee who is waiting for verification results and conclusions from investigation agencies[1].

Other than these above regulations, the Labour Code does not have any regulations on the Employer’ investigation authority in searching for or verifying the evidence of the Employee’ violations before imposing disciplinary actions. However, based on the principle that the Employer must prove the Employee’ violations before imposing any disciplinary action[2], it could be inferred that the Employer can only conduct an internal investigation to collect the evidence of the Employees’ violations to use as a ground to handle labour dispute violations. As there are no regulations on the investigation, the process and method of conducting an investigation will actually be decided by the Employer so it is suitable for the enterprise and not go against other legal regulations.

Concerning the scope of an internal investigation, the Labour Code has not provided any detailed regulations on this matter. However, as the purposes of the ILR and the Labour Code are to maintain the enterprise’s internal order, and the Employer can only impose disciplinary actions on violations as prescribed in the ILR, LC or that of the Labour Code[3], so in principle, the investigation to prove the Employee’ faults can only be conducted within the enterprise. For example, the Employers cannot impose disciplinary actions on any Employee who commits a gambling act outside the enterprise’s premises even though the Employer can prove, through an internal investigation, that the Employee has committed such an act.

[1] Article 122.4 (c) and Article 125.1 and Article 125.2 of the Labour Code

[2] Article 122.1 (a) of the Labour Code

[3] Article 127.3 of the Labour Code