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jan 11

role of union rep in disciplinary meeting

If the employee brings a union official to the meeting, it’s important to establish whether their intended role is as a support person or as the employee’s union representative. However, a union officer may be able to attend via teleconference to ensure the meeting is conducted with procedural fairness. This could be a trusted colleague, friend, family member, union representative or lawyer. Rather, an employer must be able to demonstrate that when the decision to take adverse action was made, the employee’s desire to be represented by their union was not a reason for that decision. | It is illegal under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) for an employer to take adverse action against an employee because that employee sought to be represented by their union. Employers who don’t understand the role of a union representative and that of a support person risk significant legal consequences. In practice, this means that if even a fraction of the reason that an employer took adverse action against an employee was because the employee wanted union representation, the employer can be hit with a general protections claim in the Fair Work Commission. The rep is present only to assist the employee. An argument ensued, and the HR manager told the union official to leave the premises and terminated the meeting. Where an employer fails to comply with … This case is a pertinent reminder of the consequences of misjudging the role of a union official in a disciplinary meeting. union representatives take on duties related to particular subjects where statutory rules apply, as in collective redundancy and the transfer of undertakings. Or, an employer may be required to notify both the union and the employee in advance of the meeting, and to indicate its purpose. In addition, the representative may not use their rights to address the hearing and to confer with the worker in a way that prevents the employer explaining its case or any other person at the hearing making their contribution. If Fair Work only provides for the right of an employee to have access to a support person (and the nature of that role) how can a Union official have the ability to choose what role they play at the start of the meeting? What should you do next? The presence of union officials in disciplinary meetings can feel like a legal minefield for employers. Representatives are entitled to raise any concerns with management on behalf of union members. union learning representative, union environmental representative and union equality representatives. Disciplinary procedures may involve something as simple as an informal chat, and escalate to involve letters, meetings and appeals. The Weingarten right to representation is limited in several facets: First, an employee does not have the right to union representation at all meetings. the seriousness of the disciplinary issue; the employee’s disciplinary record, general work record, work experience, position and length of service; getting a medical opinion on whether the employee is fit to attend the meeting (with the employee’s permission) The Union’s representative role With a Union rep present, the employer should still conduct the meeting in the same manner. A disciplinary procedure is the way your employer deals with discipline when they believe that your conduct or performance is not up to the expected standard. Health and safety representative– has statutory rights to cover many aspects of health, safety and welfare in the workplace and attends health and safety committee meetings. The designation "union representative" could mean anything from a labor boss to an organizer to a business representative. This is best illustrated by the case of Vong v Sika. For this reason, we strongly recommend that employers record clear written reasons for any decision to take adverse action against an employee. When considering whether an employee was unfairly dismissed, the Fair Work Commission will look at whether the employer unreasonably refused to allow a support person to assist at any discussions relating to an employee’s potential dismissal. Union representatives with specialist roles are referred to by the role they play ie. If the employee brings a union official to the meeting, it’s important to establish whether their intended role is as a support person or as the employee’s union representative. We recommend seeking legal advice if you are unclear about the operation of your enterprise agreements or modern awards or if you’re not sure about the role of a union official in disciplinary meetings. When the employee Vong was called into a disciplinary meeting, he brought a union official with him. They can confer during the hearing but cannot answer questions on their behalf. Vong argued that he had been unfairly dismissed because he was a union member. The same thing occurred at the next two meetings. [1] When the employee Vong was called into a disciplinary meeting, he brought a union official with him. What should you do next? A Rep is a union member who represents and gives advice to colleagues when they have problems at work (1) The role is wide ranging and includes representing workers with problems and accompanying them to grievance or disciplinary hearings. Employers who confuse the role of a union representative with that of a support person risk significant legal consequences. The District Court of Western Australia has found in favour of patient Sandy Lazarevski and held that the defendant North Metropolitan Health Service (NMHS) breached its duty of care by failing to administer a standard blood test and detect an eventuating heart attack despite finding that the possibility of a heart attack on the patient’s presentation was low. It’s illegal under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) for an employer to take adverse action against an employee because they sought union representation. If you’re asked to go to a disciplinary meeting, you have the right to be accompanied by: a colleague; a trade union representative; an official employed by a trade union; You don't usually have a right to bring anyone else. The presence of a support person at a disciplinary meeting is important, to offer emotional support and/or to ensure your workplace rights are protected. In this practical guide, we’ll take a look at the differences between a support person and a union representative, and share tips on complying with your legal obligations. The employer’s HR manager asked the union official to sign a document which required him to act as an observer, rather than as a … When considering whether an employee was unfairly dismissed, the Fair Work Commission will look at whether the employer unreasonably refused to allow a support person to assist in any discussions relating to an employee’s potential dismissal. [1] http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/cth/FMCA/2010/1021.html. Where do we stand on this? 3(e) enabling fairness and representation at work and the prevention of discrimination by recognising the right to freedom of association and the right to be represented, protecting against unfair treatment and discrimination, providing accessible and effective procedures to resolve grievances and disputes and providing effective compliance mechanisms. The Trade Union officials are normally very balanced and objective, and providing you follow our guidance in relation the meeting there is nothing to be concerned about. When management meets with a union member (or telephones the worker at home) to ask questions about possible misconduct, the employee can request the presence of a union representative and refuse to answer until the rep arrives. Their role is not to speak on behalf of, or advocate for the employee. Their role is generally to provide emotional support, take notes and clarify questions. They will help you prepare a Written Statement, and present your case at your Formal Meeting. 11 October 2019. We also strongly recommend asking the employee, with at least 24 hours’ notice, if they would like to bring a support person. I find it handy to have a fact sheet that describes the union representative’s role during the interviews to hand out at the start of the interview. These are known as Weingarten rights (from a 1975 Supreme Court case). Copyright @ Australian HR Institute, Click the subscribe button below to go to our subscribe page or. The employer was ordered to reinstate Vong, compensate him for lost wages, re-credit his leave entitlements and pay a penalty to the union. A trade union “official” includes officers of the union as well as appointed representatives of union members. When the employee Vong was called into a disciplinary meeting, he brought a union official with him. | Some agreements oblige the employer to remind the employee of his/her rights to representation. can include dismissal, discrimination, demotion, suspension, issuing warnings and commencing disciplinary processes. The presence of union officials in disciplinary meetings can feel like a legal minefield for employers. In practice, this means if even a fraction of the reason an employer took adverse action against an employee was because the employee wanted union representation, that employer can be hit with a general protections claim in the Fair Work Commission. Attend via teleconference to ensure the meeting, and the business world bb... Employees at grievance and disciplinary proceedings, at hall & Wilcox know about the IR. Reasonable, a support person can generally be anyone that the investigatory interview this could be trusted. 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