Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. What is your specific query about all of this?
I think the question I sent is clear. However what I want to know is whether or not I am entitled to be accompanied to the next meeting. I believe I have that right, but I do not know why " protected" or "without prejudice" meetings prevent me from being accompanied.
Why has Ben Jones stepped out of the chat so quickly?
I have not
Sorry but I am confused because I received a message stating "Ben Jones has stepped out of this chat"
ignore these, they could be due to system errors
The legal right for workers to be accompanied at certain meetings in the workplace is dealt with under sections 10-15 of the Employment Relations Act 1999. It states that where a worker is required to attend a disciplinary or grievance hearing and the worker 'reasonably requests' to be accompanied at that hearing, the employer must allow them to be accompanied by a 'single companion’.
The meetings that are covered by this right are:
There is no legal right to be accompanied in redundancy situations, such as a consultation meeting or a meeting to confirm someone's termination by reason of redundancy.
So unless the purpose of this meeting falls with one of the above, whether ‘without prejudice’ or not, you do not have the legal right to be accompanied I’m afraid.
How can I protect myself during discussions if there are 2 company representatives but only me alone?
protect yourself in what way?
The company reps may state certain things and then later deny it, eg an offer at first meeting was made by the company to pay for any legal advice. However they could deny this in the future, thus anything else said at next meeting could be denied and I have no way of proving what was said
You need to take accurate and detailed notes. Some people even record the meetings
Are you suggesting that I am entitled to record the meeting?
that is indeed possible, as long as it is an open meeting where you are invited to attend and you do not record any personal information about others, just yourself
If I request to record the meeting, are the company representatives entitled to refuse?
yes they are but when I suggested that I meant record it secretely, without their consent
Although I cannot be accompanied in the meeting, am I allowed to take an advisor along, who will wait outside and I can go out to confer?
potentially yes but the employer may not be keen on starting and stopping the meeting all the time and they could end it early if you continue going in and out and disrupting it
What is the meaning of "protected meeting" and " without prejudice"?
they basically cannot be brought up in subsequent legal; proceedings...it's like they never happened as far as the courts/tribunals are concerned
This seems unfair and as this matter is serious, can I request that the meeting is not "without prejudice" or "protected"
you can but they do not have to hold it if they do not agree and can continue under the formal redundancy process and not make any offers
if they want to make you an offer they can request it is held without prejudice - this is the usual way things are done
it is nothing out of the ordinary
Since the first meeting was supposed to be about operational matters and no pre indication had been given about discussing redundancy. This seems like very sharp and almost illegal procedures
it is not illegal - the employer can convene a meeting about anything and then discuss anything as well. The law only deals with disciplinary and grievance matters and what must be done in advance. In other cases, including yours, different topics can be discussed at the meeting even if you were not told in advance. If you are not happy, you simply request the meeting is stopped and ask for another time when you can discuss this.
If I refuse the redundancy offer are we in the realms of "unfair dismissal", if there are no performance grounds for dismissal?
redundancy does not depend on performance, it happens when the employer no longer requires the same amount of employees doing a particular job, but that is an entirely separate subject
Ben , thank you very much you have been most helpful
you are most welcome, hope this has clarified your position to an extent
I am trying to give you an excellent rating, but the system wont let me as it is showing "the expert has not finished answering"
it's a bug that happens sometime, we will process it at our end, many thanks