Your rights at work – Q & A



Q. What are my rights at fact finding interviews (FFI)?
A. You have exactly the same rights as any UK citizen subject to the law. That is you are not      obliged to say anything if you do not wish to do so. Your rights are further enshrined under human rights law in that you are not forced to provide evidence that may incriminate you.

Q. What exactly is a fact finding interview (FFI)?
A. It should be an even handed attempt to ascertain exactly what happened prior to some event or incident; unfortunately some managers treat it as the first stage of the disciplinary process whereby they have already made their mind up as to a person’s culpability and will see the interview as a means to confirm the guilt of the member.

Q. How will I know if I am at a fact finding interview?
A. Good question! Guidelines state a person should be told that they are attending a FFI. To be fair most managers/investigators will play fair and abide by the guidelines. Unfortunately some managers will invite people to an’ informal chat’ or 1to1 which can turn into a fishing expedition, or worse an interrogation leaving people confused and fearful.

Q. Am I entitled to have anyone with me at an FFI or discipline hearing?
A. Whilst you are entitled to be represented at a disciplinary hearing there is no statutory entitlement to be accompanied at a FFI.

Q. Should I answer any questions put to me?
A. That is entirely your choice; however whatever you say or what opinions you express may be misconstrued or even manipulated, because all too often the only written record is the manager’s notes. Which is why the member should be given a copy, and they should be thoroughly checked for accuracy and decline to be signed unless agreed with.

Q. Can I be compelled to answer question?
A. NO, you cannot be forced to answer questions. You may be told that you are to comply with a reasonable request; our advice is that it is reasonable for you to seek legal advice or consult a union rep before answering any questions. You could also say that you will provide a written explanation after reflecting on any questions put to you.

Q. Can I be searched?
A. Managers may search company property such as vehicles, desks, cupboards, company owned computers and phones etc. They are not entitled to search you or your personal bags etc without your express permission.

Q. I think I am under suspicion of doing something wrong at work what should I do?
A. Immediately contact your union rep from our contacts page, they will advise you on your rights and safeguards. We can also refer you to our free legal services if that may be necessary, and represent you in any possible disciplinary proceedings.

01865 510 308 (OXFORD),
01189 472 148 (READING),
01908 373 578 (MILTON KEYNES)