As a young worker you’re more likely to need tips for dealing with a disciplinary meeting more than most other workers. Sometimes you might be quite shocked to hear that your boss wants to talk about your performance at work, and other times it might have been a long time coming.

Either way, disciplinary meetings can be unpleasant, but they should be done correctly.

1. To kick off the disciplinary process you should receive a formal letter requesting a meeting, and outlining the following things:

  • What concerns the disciplinary meeting will be addressing.
  • What “evidence” your boss has to support their claims.
  • The date, time, and location of the disciplinary meeting.
  • Who else will be attending the meeting.
  • That you are allowed to bring a support person/advocate with you to the meeting.
  • What the possible outcomes might be. (EG written warning, dismissal, performance review plan)

This letter may also tell you about your organisation’s Employee Assistance Provider (for counselling) and let you know that you can get help from them at any point.


  • If you don’t get a letter, or if it doesn’t contain the thing listed above, you should request this information from your boss. – You can refuse to attend a disciplinary meeting until you have been provided with all of this information.
  • If your support person/advocate isn’t available on the requested date, you can ask to postpone. Employers must allow a reasonable delay for this reason.
  • Your boss and the organisation must ensure that the process meets requirements under NZ employment legislation.

2. During the meeting your boss should:

  • Take minutes/notes of the meeting. (You should also take your own notes.)
  • Provide you a copy of the notes once the meeting is over.
  • Talk through only the points outlined in the meeting letter, and not add points you haven’t prepared to discuss.
  • Provide supporting evidence for each point raised.
  • Give you the opportunity to speak and provide a response to the points raised and supporting evidence. If there’s a LOT of information to mull over, you can ask to go away and consider your response. Also, be honest. If you’re caught in a lie, your boss can reissue the meeting letter including an allegation of dishonesty.
  • Follow the process outlined in the organisation’s disciplinary policy OR in NZ employment legislation.
  • Talk you through potential outcomes and give you the opportunity to respond.
  • Genuinely consider the responses you provided.
  • Adjourn the meeting in order to go away and make a decision.
  • NOT have any pre-written decision letters that they give to you during that first disciplinary meeting.

When you get notified of the meeting outcome, it must match one of the outcomes you were made aware of during the disciplinary meeting. If it doesn’t, you should raise this with your boss as soon as possible.

3. After the meeting your boss should:

  • Give you an outcome letter that outlines the discussions had in the meeting and the things that were considered by the organisation before making a decision.
  • Tell you what happens next, and when.
  • Keep the process and outcome confidential. (You need to keep it confidential too.)
  • Tell you that the matter is now closed and that everyone moves forward from this point.

tips for dealing with a disciplinary meeting