I’ve Been called to Employee Relations (Pre-determination Meeting): What do I do now?
In my previous blog post, “Why Educators Unfairly Accused of Wrongdoing Should Consider Talking To An Attorney Before Providing A statement”, I provided educators reasons why I believe consulting with an experienced attorney can make a difference in protecting your career and reputation.
Preparing for The Meeting/Interview
An educator suspected or accused of wrongdoing will likely receive notice of a meeting with an employee relations professional and/or a supervisor. When this occurs, you should actively gather any documents, a list of witnesses, and any other support that maybe helpful. It’s important to note that while collecting evidence favorable to you, make no attempt to interfere with an active investigation.
Employee relations professionals undergo extensive training and are usually prepared for your interview. Consequently, I believe that the most important factor is not to go in alone. Having an experience representative protecting your interest could significantly impact the outcome of an investigation.
Know Your Rights
An employee has the right to review all evidence that has been collected in an investigation but even more importantly, to see all evidence before responding (that is, if your representative recommends saying anything at all).
During the interview, listen carefully, do not display anger and take notes where you can. If you need to speak with your representative privately say so. Talk with your representative about documents reviewed, witnesses, etc. Moreover, remember that you can request documents, and camera footage from public employers. Provide witness list that include individuals that you believe may provide helpful information.
Protecting Your Interest
After the meeting has concluded; meet with your representative as soon as possible to review what has been discussed and to determine a course of action that considers possible outcomes. Remember, that just because there may have been no confirmation or finding of wrongdoing doesn’t mean that for an educator that’s the end of the matter.
Some employers may report allegation(s) to a licensing authority who has the ability to open a separate investigation that could impact your teaching license.
In closing, the investigative process can be unnerving even for the most experienced educator and ultimately its for the educator to protect his or her career and reputation.
The information contained in this post is provided only as general information, which may or may not reflect the most current legal developments. This post should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state or jurisdiction.