The first step of the discipline process, do not be deceived that it is anything other than this. It may often feel like a fishing trip: your manager may call you in for a meeting, at the point you sit down they will no doubt utter these words, “I have called you in to do a fact finding interview, with regards to an allegation made against you…..”
You will now be thrown into a mixture of panic, confusion, you may feel annoyed: no doubt at this point you will not be thinking straight. Sadly representation is not permitted at a fact finding, unless there are exceptional circumstances: if there are exceptional circumstances state them clearly to your manager. Likewise if there are two managers present at the fact finding, there should only be one: our members have told us that they find this very intimidating, quite often they say it feels like an ambush.
This fact finding meeting is to establish the facts, before any decision is made regarding further discipline action. The decision will be made solely by the manager who has called you in, not HR, not their senior manager or any of their peers.
It is important that the manager establishes the facts that support what the individual is saying, and not just the facts that support the allegation. Only give the facts, if asked for an opinion then politely decline: sadly we have found that opinions can often be used to implicate.
If at any time during this, or any other meeting for that matter, you feel like you need a break: to maybe clear your head, get your emotions back in check, for the toilet, a drink, to ring us; then you are entitled to ask for a break of a few minutes and this should be unquestionably granted.
At the end of the meeting make sure the facts have been established and recorded, you can ask the manager to read them back but usually they will get you to read them and sign to say it is an accurate account of the meeting: if you have a problem with anything ask the manager to note your concerns.
All that is required of our members is that you are truthful and honest at these meetings, by answering concisely; you do not need to elaborate.
Once you have agreed the facts have been captured to your satisfaction, leave the meeting. Then ring us!
One last thing, this process cannot start at all if you are off sick, you cannot be forced back into work to meet for a fact finding interview. However, if you go off sick after the fact finding interview, then the discipline process can proceed without you being there, up to and including dismissal if the case warrants it.