Handling Allegations at work

Handling Management Investigation Meetings

How to prepare if an allegation has been made about you at work, and you’ve been called to an investigation meeting with your employer.

Before the meeting:
You can ask what the allegation is before the meeting so you have time to collect your thoughts before you go in.

You may be entitled to be accompanied (although this is not a legal right, it will depend on your employer’s local policy – check this) by a colleague or a trade union representative. If you are entitled to be accompanied ask someone to come with for moral support and to take notes during the meeting. It’s easy to lose track of what you did/didn’t say at the time.

Whoever comes with you is not allowed to answer questions or speak on your behalf. The purpose of the meeting is for you to answer your employer’s questions about whatever it is alleged has happened. 

The meeting is part of the process of deciding whether there is a need to invoke the full disciplinary procedure. If you have done whatever is alleged it will help if you admit it early on, apologise and explain how you have learned from the experience and that it won’t be repeated.

There’s no guarantee, but doing this is more likely to make your employer view the situation as a mistake rather than a big problem to be addressed with formal warnings or worse.

In the meeting:

Do

  • Answer questions as fully and truthfully as possible. 
  • Behave professionally. If you are upset then ask for an adjournment to compose yourself, your employer will understand that this is a stressful situation for you.
  • Where appropriate, accept responsibility for mistakes/errors of judgement you have made. This shows maturity and a willingness to learn.

Don't

  • Refuse to answer questions – this would make you look guilty even if you’re not.
  • Lie – this will almost certainly be found out and will count heavily against you.
  • Blame others for your behaviour or decisions unless there is clear evidence to back this up.
  • Raise your voice or allow yourself to become angry.

After the meeting:

  1. Confirm you will receive a copy of the employer’s notes of the meeting. Compare these with the notes taken by you/your companion and make sure any differences are pointed out to the employer.
  2. Confirm timescales the investigator is working to and when you’ll hear if the matter will be go to a disciplinary hearing.
  3. Talk to your UNISON rep about what’s happened and take their advice about next steps.

If you don't know who your rep is contact us at the UNISON Branch office.