Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

Preparing for a disciplinary or dismissal meeting

This advice applies to England

If you have been asked to go to a disciplinary or dismissal meeting, there are a few things you should do beforehand to make sure you are as well prepared for it as you can be.

This page helps you prepare for a disciplinary or dismissal meeting.

Has your employer followed a disciplinary procedure?

If your employer has a disciplinary procedure, check that they are following it. If you can’t find the procedure you can look for it:

  • on your employer’s intranet 
  • in a staff handbook
  • by asking your manager or another colleague

If your employer doesn’t have a disciplinary procedure, check they're following the Acas Code of Practice. 

Your employer should have investigated the problem before calling you to a disciplinary or dismissal meeting. If your employer didn’t talk to you when they investigated, they should show you the evidence they collected before your disciplinary or dismissal meeting.

Make sure the procedure is being followed. If it isn't, you should point this out to your employer. It could mean that any decision they make is unfair.

Do you know why your employer has asked you to a disciplinary meeting?

The main reasons for asking you to go to a disciplinary meeting are because:

  • of your conduct - this means something you've done or not done
  • of your capability - this means your employer thinks you're not doing your job well enough or you’re not going to work regularly enough
  • you have been on long-term sick leave

Conduct

If the issue is to do with your conduct, you should check what they're claiming you've done or not done. 

If you do not know or do not have all this information, ask for it and for the meeting to be postponed until you have it and have had time to consider it.

Capability

If the issue is to do with your capability, you should:

  • check why your employer is saying you're not capable of doing the job
  • think about whether you got proper training or support to do your job
  • tell your employer about any health issues that might have affected your performance or attendance

If you do not know or do not have all this information, ask for it and for the meeting to be postponed until you have it and have had time to consider it.

Long-term sickness

If the issue is to do with you being off on long-term sickness, you should:

  • try to plan how long it might be before you can return to work - you might be able to get advice from your doctor
  • think about if you’d be able to go back to work, or go back sooner if your employer made certain adjustments to your job
  • think about whether your employer has alternative work which you could do

How long has your condition lasted?

If your condition lasted, or is it likely to last, at least a year, you should get advice about whether you are disabled under the Equality Act 2010. If you are, your employer may have to make reasonable adjustments to help you do your job.

Ask for your employer's evidence and prepare your case

Before your disciplinary or dismissal meeting, ask to see all the evidence from your employer’s investigation. The evidence might include witness statements, emails or other documents. 

If you have not had enough time to consider your employer's evidence and prepare your case, you should ask for more time. This should be a reasonable length of time. The meeting should be postponed until then.

Do you want someone to come with you to the meeting?

You should think about whether you want someone to come with you to the meeting. Your employer must let you be accompanied by a colleague or a trade union rep. They do not have to agree to anyone else coming with you.

If you can't find a colleague or do not have a trade union rep, you could ask your employer to let someone else come with you, for example, a relative or friend. Your employer does not have to agree, but it may make it easier for both of you, particularly, if, for example, you will have difficulty understanding what is going on without someone to help you.

If the person you’ve chosen can’t come at the time of your meeting you should ask to change the time. Your employer should agree as long as the meeting isn’t delayed by more than 5 working days.

Once you have found someone to come with you, make sure they know your version of events and what you want them to do for you at the meeting. Tell your employer who you’ll be bringing with you, and whether they’re a colleague or trade union rep.

If your employer hasn’t said you can bring someone to the meeting you should write to them saying you want to bring someone.

Have you prepared a note or statement of what you are going to say?

To help you make sure that you raise all the issues you want to, it is a good idea to prepare a note or statement of what you are going to say. You can tick off each point as you make it, to make sure you have covered everything.

Do you have evidence to support your case?

When you have considered all the issues above, think about what evidence you have to support your case. This could be documents such as:

  • letters from your GP
  • evidence of your disability if you are disabled - for example, hospital records or a personal statement where you explain your disability
  • emails asking for training
  • examples of how your employer has dealt with similar problems in the past.

Are there any people you would like to give evidence for you?

If anyone could support your case, you should ask them if they would be willing to give evidence for you. If they are happy to give evidence, it's a good idea if they can prepare a statement or a note of what they will say so that they don't forget anything. You cannot force anyone to give evidence if they don't want to. Your employer is not allowed to victimise them if they do.

Next steps

Other useful information

Did this advice help?
Why wasn't this advice helpful?

Please tell us more about why our advice didn't help.

Did this advice help?

Thank you, your feedback has been submitted.