Being called into an impromptu disciplinary meeting is not an uncommon occurrence in Australian workplaces. It is important that you understand your rights prior to attending such a meeting so as to protect your interests long term. In the circumstance that you are not able to avoid the meeting, it is important that you are armed with tips to protect yourself.
What to do before you attend an impromptu meeting:
1. Require 24 hours’ notice for a meeting to organise a support person; and
2. Call a lawyer for advice.
What to do at an impromptu meeting where you feel trapped:
1. Listen carefully to the things being said to you;
2. Write everything down. If you do not have a pen and paper, ask for time to get those items. It is crucial that you have your own minutes of the meeting;
3. Ask for clarification of every question;
4. Do not respond to questioning that confuses you;
5. Ask for any allegations to be placed in writing; and
6. Do not admit anything and request to provide all responses in writing.
A golden rule for these meetings is the obtaining of information. They should be providing you information; you should not be providing them information. Information is power. You will fully equip yourself to respond if you are fully informed. It is therefore prudent to let your employer speak more than you do and to note all things said.