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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 they do not, check that they are following the Acas Code of Practice.

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 are not doing your job well enough, or
  • you have been on long-term sick leave.

Conduct

If the issue is to do with your conduct:

  • do you know what they are claiming you have done or not done?
  • have you seen all the evidence, including witness statements, your employer has to back up their case?

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:

  • do you know why your employer is saying you are not capable of doing the job?
  • have you seen all the evidence they have to back up their case?
  • have you received proper training or support to do your job?

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:

  • have you seen the evidence your employer has to say that you can't return to your job or will not be able to return for some time?
  • what evidence have you got on how long it may be before you can return to work?
  • would you be able to go back to work, or go back sooner if your employer made certain adjustments to your job?
  • does your employer have alternative work which you could do?
  • is your condition more than minor or trivial?

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.

Have you had enough time to consider your employer's evidence and prepare your case?

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.

However, if you cannot 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.

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.

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, 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

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