No accompaniment required (Toughest HR Question)

There is no general right for employees to be accompanied by a legal or other representative in meetings with employer
By Brian Kreissl
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 10/23/2012

Question: Are there any legal requirements stating an employer must allow an employee to be accompanied by a legal or other representative during a meeting with the employer? We are a non-union employer dealing with an alleged incident of borderline harassment.

Answer: Other than in the case of unionized employees, I am not aware of any general legal obligation stating employers must allow third-party representation of employees at such meetings (the situation is of course different with respect to unionized employees, who are generally entitled to be accompanied by a union representative in such circumstances).

A workplace investigation, disciplinary hearing or performance coaching session — or even a termination meeting — is not a court proceeding, nor is it akin to a situation where someone is being questioned by the police. As such, beyond the labour relations context, there is generally no right to legal representation (or any other type of representation) at internal meetings with an employer.