As an employee you are entitled to have a support person at a disciplinary meeting. This entitlement also extends to a performance management or investigatory meeting. In fact, the failure by an employer to allow you to have a support person present may result or add weight in a dismissal in relation to that meeting being deemed unfair due to the lack of procedural fairness.
Strictly speaking, a support person’s role is to provide emotional support only. The role of the support person is not to advocate for you in the meeting or to interject on your behalf. However, a support person can be very useful in a disciplinary meeting by taking notes during the meeting to better prepare you to respond to any allegations or to proceed with a subsequent legal claim.
The support person should not answer questions on your behalf but it may be appropriate for the support person to speak at times, especially to ask for a break or to ask that a question asked of you be clarified. Your employer should confirm the role of the support person from the outset of the meeting to ensure that all parties are fully aware of their roles and responsibilities.
The ultimate benefit of the support person is to provide the most reliable record of the meeting. This is best achieved by not getting involved in the “hurly burly” of the meeting.