Hi, i was hoping if someone could point me in the right direction of somebody to speak to in regards of a disciplinary hearing my autistic daughter has at her workplace. I feel like she should be able to have someone with her due to her disability, in what would be a very stressful and overwhelming situation for people without autism, she works in a school and has been told no on else can speak for her, i don't think this gives her a fair crack at the whip, it does not seem like they are taking her autism into account here at all. thanks in advance for any help you could offer me. Dan
The only people who are legally entitled to accompany an employee in a disciplinary are a work colleague or a representative of a trade union.
However you could ask, as a reasonable adjustment for a support worker to be in the meeting with your daughter or a prfessional who knows your daughter well and the problems she faces.
If this is refused, you can help her by writing some notes for her, quoting the equality act and the way autism affects your daughter. Things like anxiety, depression which causes stress, misunderstanding, delayed comprehension, literal understanding can all help. I dont know what the disciplinary is about but stress can be a defence especially as it is a comorbid condition with autism.
Whatever the outcome is, there is a right to appeal if it goes against her and I would take that chance, in my experience an appeal is often successful, but make sure you list a lot of your daughters autistic traits as well as the way this has contributed to the alleged behaviour, always assuming the behaviour took place - if she denies the behaviour autism can also help explain how things may be misinterpreted.
Also contact Access to Work, who can help your daughter by getting a support worker, trsining for staff to understand autism, and recommending adjustments. And consider joining a union appropriate for her job and recognised by her employer for help if there are problems in the future.
I am a union representative as well as being autistic.
There are two situations here.
Thank you for your response, she has a independent witness but obviously they cannot be involved in the proceedings. She had also joined the trade union but it was after the event and they said they can't be involved. We'll try and prepare her the best we can and hope they give her a fair hearing. Thanks again
If she has a witness, get a statement from the witness, signed, and present that at the disiplinary.. The disciplinary investigation (prior to deciding on this course of action) should have interviewed the witness anyway.
Above all, she must not be afraid to speak out at the disciplinary. Be polite, but not be shy of saying things against the employer, or explaining mitigating circumstances or defending herself.
Also read thoroughly the employers disciplinary and stress policies (and if it is within any policy, the policy for the alleged misdeed which she is being disciplined for). Many times an employer (or the manager) does not follow their own policies. Just because the employer makes the policy does not mean the employer can break it, and there are also rules they should follow in the policy and the procedure of a grievance.
Where I used to work the Union would not normally represent someone unless they had been a member for over 6 months, however, sometimes they would allow the individual to pay for the previous months subscriptions and still represent them. It might be worth asking them if they would consider this.