You or a member you represent has been summoned to a disciplinary meeting. This type of meeting can be one of the most frightening experiences you'll encounter in the workplace.
Although disciplinary meetings can be intimidating, this quick-and-easy fact sheet will help guide you and your union representative through the process.
Know your rights as a worker.
- As a unionized worker, you have the right to have a steward or Union representative present to represent you during any meeting with management that will result in discipline - that includes the "fact finding" and/or "disciplinary" meeting.
- You have the right to know the subject of the meeting and the right to consult your Union representative prior to the meeting for advice.
- Your primary role at a fact finding meeting is to listen and understand management's allegations.
- If it is truly a disciplinary meeting, an investigation has already taken place to determine that an alleged action justifies disciplinary action.
Know your role as a Steward and/or Union representative.
- As a Steward and/or Union representative you have a "Duty to Represent".
- You should attempt to meet with the member prior to the fact finding or disciplinary meeting. During this pre-meeting you can obtain the member's side of the story and also request any documents/evidence that corroborate the facts.
- You can help clarify questions from management. This is particularly important when a person is uncomfortable or not effective at explaining his/her actions.
- You can ensure that the member has a chance to explain or refute any allegation(s) and that their side of the story becomes part of the record.
- You should take notes of the proceedings and not hesitate to call for a break in order to caucus with the member.
- You can utilize the information attained from the meeting(s) to begin the process of gathering counter-evidence and witnesses to support the member in the event that a grievance is filed.
While details and procedures may differ in certain contracts, these basic principles apply to all disciplinary meetings.