Do I need to bring a support person?
If an employer decides to raise performance or disciplinary matters with an employee, the employer will, in most cases, invite the employee to bring a support person. The role of a support person is to:
- Act as emotional support for the employee; and
- Act as a witness to the discussion with the employer.
The role of the support person is NOT to:
- Act as the employee’s advocate; or
- Act as a witness to any of the matters raised in the meeting.
In short, the support person must say very little in the meeting. Ideally, anything the support person says in the meeting should be addressed to the employee: “Did you understand that question?”; “Do you need some fresh air before responding?”.
A support person can be a trusted friend although it is advised that the support person should be from outside the workplace.
Even though the support person cannot be an advocate there are significant advantages to having an experienced workplace advocate as your support person. An experienced workplace advocate understands the Human Resources and legal framework in which the meeting is taking place and therefore understands how you should best respond in the meeting. Most of the support person’s work happens before and after the meeting:
- Reading all the relevant correspondence;
- Meeting with you to discuss the best strategy for dealing with the meeting;
- Taking detailed notes during the meeting;
- Making sure you stay on message during the meeting and asking for breaks when you need them;
- Writing to the employer after the meeting to confirm outcomes; and
- Providing you with a set of meeting notes.
Kelly Workplace Lawyers has several highly trained advocates who specialize in attending workplace meetings. Please call us today to discuss.