Attending a compulsory meeting at work can be both intimidating and challenging. As an employee, you have the right to have a support person or a representative at the meeting with you.
Your employer is not obliged to offer you a support person. However, pursuant to s 387(d) of the Fair Work Act 2009, employers must not unreasonably refuse the right for their employee to have a support person.
What the representative can and can’t do
The representative is there to support you during your workplace meeting. A support person provides you with emotional support or can speak on your behalf, in the event that you are too distressed to do so. Representatives are also able to take notes and ask questions which they think prudent. They may ensure that the meeting is fairly conducted and in a civil manner.
The representative cannot argue for you as the employee or act as your advocate.
Can the support person be anyone?
A support person can either be a family member, a friend, a colleague or a lawyer. However, they may be refused if the employer has on reasonable grounds that they are not suitable for the meeting. Or that they already have any prior knowledge which associates them to the matter. Employers are not entitled to choose the support person, it is entirely up to you as the employee.
How can we help?
It is important that you and your representative understand the boundaries in order to avoid exceeding your jurisdiction. Stepping out of your boundaries or obligations can be very costly. If you have any questions in relation to having a representative, contact JFMLAW.
Has your employer unreasonably refused your right to a support person? If you have any questions about having a representative, please call JFMLAW on 02 9331 0266.