The Disciplinary Process (click for downloadable version)
Meetings with the boss
If you end up in a disciplinary meeting it is your right to have a fair process followed by the employer. This section explains how to prepare for the meeting, what to expect and what the likely outcomes will be.
If you belong to Together, remember to ring 0800 MY UNION for advice before or after your meeting.
The diagram on the right shows how the disciplinary process works.
Your basic rights in a disciplinary meeting
1. The right to fair notice
You should be told in advance if the meeting is going to be disciplinary. You should be told what the meeting is about and how serious the outcome could be, so you can prepare and get support. If you are called to a disciplinary meeting you have the right to refuse to go ahead with the meeting until you have a support person. If your support person hasn't had time to prepare, then the meeting must be rescheduled.
2. The right to representation and support
It is your right to bring a support person or representative to the meeting. This person could be a workmate, lawyer or friend. They can speak on your behalf or be there as a witness and to give emotional support.
3. The right to a full investigation
Your boss must carry out a full investigation of the case and share with you all of the information they find that relates to the case.
4. The right to have full information
You have the right to know exactly what the complaint against you is, what the proof of the allegation is, and to be given a copy of all relevant information. E.g. the boss can't use evidence from anonymous witnesses.
5. The right to defend yourself
You have the right to tell your side of the story to the employer or ask your support person to speak for you.
6. The right to fairness
All investigations and actions leading up to and including the disciplinary meeting must follow a fair and just process. If there is a process in your employment agreement or the company rules, the employer must follow that.
7. The right to a fair and just outcome
The seriousness of the disciplinary action must reflect the seriousness of your actions: the punishment must fit the crime. Any disciplinary action, such as a warning or dismissal, must be the same action taken against other workers who have done the same thing in the past. You cannot get a harsher punishment than another worker for doing the same thing.
Preparing to meet with the boss
You may meet to talk with your boss for a variety of reasons - you may be in trouble and expecting disciplinary action, you may be raising a H&S problem or the boss may want to talk with you about a new workplace initiative which may result in job losses.
Make sure you read our detailed guide to preparing for a meeting.
What happens in a disciplinary meeting?
If you have to attend a disciplinary meeting, it's vital to understand your rights and know how to handle things. You have the right to a support person or representative to check the correct process is being followed.
Make sure you read the facts on disciplinary meetings.
Use this checklist to make sure you haven't left anything out when preparing for a disciplinary meeting.
What happens next?
If you have been given a warning, read about your rights.
If you have been suspended from work, make sure you understand your rights.
If you and your fellow workers feel that something unfair is happening, you can start organising to take action at work.