Does an employee have the right to be accompanied by a colleague or trade union official at an informal meeting to discuss minor misconduct?

There is no right for an employee to be accompanied at an informal meeting. The right to be accompanied applies only to a disciplinary hearing that could result in:

  • the administration of a formal warning to a worker by his or her employer;
  • the taking of some other action in respect of a worker by his or her employer; or
  • the confirmation of a warning or some other action taken (ss.10 and 13(4) of the Employment Relations Act 1999).

An employer that is conducting an informal meeting to discuss minor misconduct should ensure that this does not result in a formal warning to the employee, as this would turn the meeting into a formal disciplinary hearing and give the employee the right to be accompanied.