Sign in

Steward Notes: An investigation checklist

By Alexander Delorme, Communications Staff

Jan 29, 2024

Text only block

Whether your member is called into a meeting or wants to file a grievance, good stewards plan ahead with a checklist.

Union stewards perform several roles on the worksite. Stewards help members understand their collective agreement, share bargaining updates, welcome new employees with information about the union, and more. One of the most obvious tasks stewards take on is supporting members during investigation and grievance meetings. 

Meetings with the employer can be very serious, so it is important that you, as a steward, know exactly what you need to do to help your coworker. One of the best ways to do this is to prepare a checklist. 

A comprehensive checklist should include everything you need to find out or accomplish before, during, and after a meeting. Creating a checklist helps you organize your thoughts, and referring to it during the meeting ensures you do not forget anything. Keeping yourself on track is important, especially if the meeting takes a turn you did not expect. 

Every situation is different, but we can still examine what a basic checklist should include: 

Before the meeting 

  1. Ask the employer what the meeting is about, including whether it could result in discipline. 
  2. Request a copy of the questions the employer wants to ask, or any documents and files they are using as the basis of their investigation. 
  3. Meet with your coworker privately. Ask them to tell you everything relevant to the investigation. 
  4. Tell your coworker to be truthful, but to not share information they do not have to. 

During the meeting 

  1. Ensure the employer’s questions are on topic and to the point. 
  2. Do not entertain leading questions, such as, “Did anything unusual happen at work last week?” 
  3. Get all the information you can from the employer. 
  4. Ensure your coworker does not slip up by sharing more information than they need to. 
  5. Take notes on everything! 

After the meeting 

  1. Have a meeting with your coworker to debrief. 
  2. Offer emotional support if they need it. 
  3. Discuss how the meeting went and next steps – but do not speculate on outcomes. 
  4. If your coworker is facing discipline, including termination, let them know they can grieve the discipline and contact the union immediately. 
  5. Keep all your notes. Process them and file them in a safe place. 

As you can see, the above checklist is very basic, with steps that should be followed for every investigation meeting. It is up to you as a steward to analyze the situation and include any additional steps you need to take to support your coworker. 

Most of us use checklists for ordinary tasks without even thinking about it. However, when you’re a union steward and the stakes are high, it becomes all the more important to keep yourself prepared and organized. 

Stay tuned for future Steward Notes articles about creating checklists for filing a grievance. 

Related articles