The Fact Find
If you suddenly find yourself in a Fact Finding meeting with your or another manager, then you almost certainly will not have been warned. A manager will come out to site to visit you or call you in the office, they may not tell you they are coming and will almost certainly not tell you why they want to see you.
When the meeting commences, the manager MUST tell you that `this is a Fact Finding Interview’… Fact Finding interviews must be conducted as per the associated Discipline Procedure document.
You should note that there is no legal right to be accompanied to a Fact Finding (although it may be specifically allowed under some employer policies or left to managerial discretion in others).
We cannot advise you what or what not to say that is up to you, however you have the right to Remain Silent, you can also say that you wish to co-operate but that you wish to seek advice before answering any questions.
You may be asked to provide a Written Statement and must be given a reasonable amount of time to consider your response, normally a day or more.
Your employer does not have the right to detain and interrogate you. If you become unwell you are entitled to say so and go home.
DO NOT KNOWINGLY LIE IN THE FACT FIND! An unanswered question is better than a falsehood.
We strongly advise that you take professional advice by contacting your Union Branch office (0800 023 58 59) or Head Office without delay.
Should the company proceed to discipline you should be notified in writing of the venue, time, date and charge. You should also be given a pack containing the documented evidence to be referred to during the meeting and associated company policy.
You should notify the union as soon as you receive your hearing date to ensure representation can be provided. Whilst the employer must reasonably rearrange if a representative is not available; failure to notify us will reduce preparation time and may harm your case.
Next steps to take control:
1. Do not discuss the issue / allegation with anyone from work, other than the relevant manager and your trade union representative. Breaching confidence can result in further discipline. If you are suspended and colleagues ask questions, do not explain nor confirm anything -even if they already know, if others have broken confidence we can challenge and use it later.
2. Social Media – remove the “I work for *EMPLOYER*” description off your profiles and ensure they are set to private. Make sure you do not have any posts about work, customers or suppliers. We have had several issues with unrelated comments being used to trump up charges “bringing the company into disrepute” even when it is other peoples posts on your account. Be mindful that work “friends” may trawl your profile and supply screen grabs to management.
3. Contact the union. If you don’t get an immediate answer make sure you leave a message on the 0800 023 58 59 number and email firstname.lastname@example.org . This is covered by all senior officers and most likely to get a speedy answer or reply. Mobile numbers for individuals are on contact us if required but may not always be available.
4. Don’t panic! often nothing is the best thing to do - volunteering further information to the company to prove innocence, listing other peoples unrelated offences, gushing unreserved apologies, seeking witness statements from colleagues, lodging retaliatory grievances, going sick or trying to negotiate a deal will not help your case at this point but is highly likely to backfire. This is happening, you need experienced and considered advice to get through it – the more issues that occur before we are involved the fewer our opportunities to resolve things.
5. If you are stressed or emotionally distressed make use of the company EAP / Counselling support line; these services are normally confidential and we recommend you use them. Usually given on discipline letters or available from your manager / HR.
If your employer has not provided an EAP / Counselling support line call the Samaritans or similar support:
- in English: 116 123 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
- Welsh Language Line (Llinell Gymraeg): 0808 164 0123 (7pm-11pm, 7 days a week / 7pm-11pm, 7 diwrnod yr wythnos).