Pulled into a disciplinary meeting over mistaken identity

Posted on
March 14, 2023

It could've happened to anyone

You get a call from management out of the blue and you’re told that there’s been a complaint against you – maybe from a resident, a client, or a fellow coworker – and now you’re being stood down from work.

You don’t know why. You don’t know what happens next and you don’t know what to do.

Just like an Extended Care Assistant we helped recently, you would be stressed out and confused. Your first step is always to call HACSU right away.

Ali’s story

Ali is a casual Extended Care Assistant at an aged care facility where he supports residents who have conditions like dementia. Not long ago, Ali a got a call from management telling him that there had been allegations of a resident complaint against him, and he’d been stood down from work.

The first thing Ali did was call HACSU.

Right away, we were able to help make sure he was paid for the shifts he was rostered for while he was stood down. If your employer stands you down and you’re permanent, you must be stood down with pay. If you’re casual, like Ali, they have to pay you for all the shifts on your roster.

A couple of days later, the employer sent Ali a letter of allegation. This is a letter that contains details about why you’ve been stood down. According to his employer, Ali had allegedly been rough with one of the residents with dementia whilst helping her into bed. But there was one glaring problem with the allegation: Ali was nowhere near the resident at the time this was supposed to have happened. He’d left the wing hours ago, and there was camera footage to prove it.

If you’re in a disciplinary process, you always have the right to a response so you can tell your side of the story and set the record straight. If you’ve called HACSU for assistance, we’ll help you put your response together to make sure you’ve covered all of the facts and ensure you can make the best possible case for yourself.

Your response might be sent off to your employer in writing, or you might provide it at something called a response meeting with your employer.

Ali had a response meeting with his employer and he went with a HACSU organiser by his side. HACSU organisers represent you at meetings and make sure they stay on track and that your employer isn’t asking you any leading or irrelevant questions. We also make it clear to your employer what we think would be a reasonable outcome.

We told Ali’s employer that because his response made it very clear he hadn’t had any contact with the resident at the time, the reasonable outcome would be for the issue to be dropped and for him to come back to work.

After the meeting, the employer went away and reviewed Ali’s response – and then he got the call saying there was no fault found and he was no longer stood down. His shifts had been put back into the roster and he was able to go back to work.

We were able to support Ali all the way through and make sure he got to go back to work with no fault on his record.

What if I get a warning, or some other kind of sanction?

If we help you through a disciplinary process and we believe your employer has made an unreasonable decision about taking disciplinary action against you, HACSU will stay involved and can raise a dispute against your employer if that’s what we need to do.

The next steps will always depend on your individual situation, but you can always rest assured that we are here to represent you and fight for you every step of the way

That's why it pays to be with the biggest aged care union in Tasmania, HACSU.

This article is taken from our latest issue of Inform, our HACSU magazine, you can read Inform here for all the latest HACSU news

For more information about this or any other industrial matter, members should contact HACSUassist on 1300 880 032 or email assist@hacsu.org.au or complete our online contact form