Know your rights: Counselling
By Darryn Gaffy,
Senior Industrial Officer
Whilst an employer may legitimately interview or counsel a member to assist them in their work, unfortunately, some members find themselves in a situation where their rights are not being upheld and are counselled in a manner which may be regarded as harsh or unjust.
The right to have a witness of their choice
A member has a right to a witness of their choice. SDA members should always have a witness of their choice present for any meeting – the most appropriate choice being a Shop Steward, Delegate or an Organiser.
The right to remain silent
It is illegal to force anyone to answer questions.
The right to not be forced to enter or remain in the employer’s office
A member can adjourn a meeting at any time, if they feel they need to. Importantly, a member cannot be required to go into or remain in an office, unless they are under arrest.
The right not to sign anything
A member cannot be compelled to sign documents, including counselling forms. Where a member feels obliged to sign a document they should write: “I have read the document, but I do not agree with its contents”.
Knowing the correct procedure in relation to meeting with management will ensure that members are treated fairly.