It can be pretty frustrating when you have a disciplinary matter to resolve and the meeting is persistently postponed because the employee’s chosen support person is unavailable.
What can you do about it? Do you really have to continue rescheduling and allowing time to lag on and on? The simple answer is no. Case law has shown us that while the employee does have the right to choose their own representative, this can not impede the process.
So, if you’re faced with this debacle, the best approach is to outline some options to the employee and put the ball in their court as to which one to choose.
Providing you gave at least 2 days advance notice of the meeting in the first place, and have allowed one opportunity to reschedule, then the next step is to go back to the advocate / support person to ask for a range of times they would be available.
If they persist with delaying tactics, you could write to the support person and state that although the employee has chosen them, it is evident they are not free in the near future, so the options available to the employee are:
Like with any options provided to an employee, it is important they are time-bound in making their decision. If the employee does not choose one of those options by the given date, then you will be forced to proceed and make a decision with the information currently available.
Remember, in managing these processes, you have to be fair and reasonable, but that doesn’t stop you being direct and retaining ownership of the process.