If you have been invited to a disciplinary investigation meeting at work, please read on.
We often receive calls from concerned clients who have been invited to a disciplinary investigation meeting and, understandably, are unsure of what to say. If you have been invited to a disciplinary investigation meeting, we would be delighted to help. For a free consultation with one of the team at Lincs Law Employment Solicitors, simply use the contact form, engage in a web chat, email email@example.com or call us on 01522 440512 and we will be happy to help.
Please note, this blog focuses specifically on attending a disciplinary investigation meeting. If your employer has already investigated your alleged misconduct and has notified you of a disciplinary hearing, please see our blog here – https://lincslaw.co.uk/services/employees/workplace-problems/defending-disciplinary-allegations/.
Overview: Disciplinary Investigation Process
If your employer considers you may have committed an act(s) of misconduct, they will need to decide whether this can be dealt with informally (i.e., an informal chat) or whether more formal action is necessary. At this stage, the severity of your alleged act(s) of misconduct and/or the number of act(s) of misconduct are likely to be considered by your employer.
If your employer decides they need to formally investigate your alleged act(s) of misconduct, they should follow their own disciplinary procedure (if they have one) and, in any event, follow the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures (“the ACAS Code”).
Essentially, if your employer has decided that they need to start an investigation, they should appoint an Investigator. This person should not, if possible, be otherwise involved in your case. Your employer should inform you about the investigation and start such process without unreasonable delay. At this time, your employer may decide to suspend you whilst they carry out their investigations. For more information about this, please see our blog here – https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/suspension/.
During an investigation process, your employer should carry out all necessary investigations. What investigations include will, of course, depend on the nature of your alleged misconduct and the circumstances of your employer. However, common examples of investigatory action can include:
- Reviewing and collating all relevant documentation (such as emails, letters, other communications)
- Retrieving relevant CCTV footage
- Collecting witness statements from relevant staff members
- Holding an investigation meeting with you
Importantly, the investigation process itself (including your investigation meeting) should not result in any disciplinary action.
Once the investigation process has been concluded, your employer will need to decide, based on the available evidence and your representations, whether there is a disciplinary case to answer. If there is not, no further action should be taken. If there is a case to answer, you should receive notification of a disciplinary hearing.
I Have Been Invited to A Disciplinary Investigation Meeting: Can I Take Someone With Me?
If you have been invited to a disciplinary hearing (i.e., not a disciplinary investigation meeting) which could result in some disciplinary action being taken, you do have a statutory right to be accompanied. For more information about this, please see our blog here – https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/who-can-i-take-with-me-to-my-disciplinary-hearing/
However, if your employer is investigating your alleged misconduct and you have been invited to an initial disciplinary investigation meeting, there is no statutory right to be accompanied. Your employer may, however, still allow you to take a companion to your disciplinary investigation meeting. As such, we would advise you to:
a) Check your employer’s own disciplinary procedure. This may allow you to be accompanied at your investigation meeting. If so, make sure your employer follows their own procedure!
b) Even if your employer’s disciplinary procedure is silent on the matter, you can still ask your employer if someone can accompany you. Again, whilst you do not have any legal right in this regard, your employer may nevertheless agree to your request.
Furthermore, if you have a disability (for example, a mental health condition), being accompanied in your investigation meeting may be considered a reasonable adjustment. For more information about reasonable adjustments, please see our blog here – https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/disability-discrimination-what-are-reasonable-adjustments/.
I Have Been Invited to A Disciplinary Investigation Meeting: What Information Should I Receive?
Before any investigation meeting, make sure you have been provided with information about your alleged act(s) of misconduct. This is because you will, of course, need such information to be able to answer the questions. Importantly, you should not be ambushed in a disciplinary investigation meeting. You should receive information such as:
- Details of the nature of your alleged misconduct – i.e., what you have done
- Any policy or procedure you have allegedly breached
- The dates and times of when the alleged misconduct took place
- Who was involved in the incident(s)
Here at Lincs Law Employment Solicitors, all too often we see employers only provide vague references to “turning up late” or suggestions of “problems with behaviour” without providing specifics. If you have been invited to a disciplinary investigation meeting, and you have not been provided with information about your alleged misconduct, ask your employer for more information!
I Have Been Invited to A Disciplinary Investigation Meeting: What Should I Say?
If you have been invited to a disciplinary investigation meeting, you need to think very carefully about what you say. Whilst an investigation meeting should not result in any disciplinary action, what you say in the meeting will, of course, impact your employer’s decision as to whether there is a disciplinary case to answer.
During an investigation meeting, you should be asked questions about your alleged misconduct, in order to establish the facts of the case. You should be allowed to put across your side of the story. What you say in response to the questions asked will, of course, depend on your personal circumstances and the nature of your alleged misconduct. However, as a guide:
- If you consider your behaviour or conduct was justified, clearly explain why you did what you did.
- If you do not consider that you committed the misconduct in question, again, clearly explain the reasons why you believe you did not commit the act as alleged.
- If you have made a genuine mistake, acknowledge the error, apologise, and then explain how it was a genuine mistake and what steps you will take to ensure it does not occur again.
Importantly, however, do not feel pressured to provide an immediate response to the questions. If you find yourself with insufficient information about your alleged misconduct or you are unsure about the line of questioning, you should make this clear to the investigator and, if necessary, reserve the right to comment until you have received further information/clarification on the allegations. Do not be afraid to request more information before answering questions.
A Potential Next Step: Notification of Disciplinary Hearing
As above, once the investigation process has been concluded, your employer will need to decide, based on the available evidence and your representations, whether there is a disciplinary case to answer. If there is not, no further action should be taken. If there is a case to answer, you should receive notification of a disciplinary hearing.
For more information about attending a disciplinary hearing, please see here – https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/employee-top-tips-for-a-disciplinary-hearing/.
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors Can Help You
We always hope the information on our website is helpful. However, if you are subject to disciplinary action, we advise you to seek legal advice as soon as possible. If you would like a free consultation with one of team at Lincs Law Employment Solicitors, simply use the contact form, engage in a web chat, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01522 440512 and we’ll be happy to help.
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