The place where I work is currently making redundancies. Cuts are being made and 20 people are at risk of losing their jobs.

I'm not at risk but my colleague is and she's been invited to a meeting with HR to discuss the process.

There's basically going to be a restructure and there will only be 5 posts available for the 20 people.

Her post is first line support, but the responsibility for the support is being moved into a different, more technical area where it is unlikely she'll be shortlisted for the job.

She is not part of a union, but the letter says she can bring another person along for support, so she's asked me.

She just wants an extra set of eyes and ears in the meeting so we can compare notes afterwards and see if she's missed anything and fully understood what is being said.

I'm happy to do that, but I was wondering if anybody else has provided this type of support for a colleague?

How proactive do I need to be in this meeting?

Should I sit quietly and observe and compare notes after or are there good questions I could ask?

Are there any things I should look out for (perhaps warning signs in the terminology they might use) and press for clarification if they come up?


1 Answer 1


Generally speaking you don't need to do much other than provide moral support in meetings like this. What it would be worth doing though is looking up any procedures or regulations regarding the handling of the redundancy process for both your company and your location.

This way you can be there to make sure that the process is being handled fairly and above board - it can be hard for the person who is actually going through the redundancy to think clearly enough to spot these things themselves.

  • 6
    And it might be an idea if you ask your colleague if it's ok to ask questions on her behalf. Going through this process can be stressful and she might not be in the mindset to ask questions that you can see.
    – user44108
    May 17, 2018 at 10:19
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    @Snow Agreed.. in fact having a general conversation with the colleague beforehand about what she would like the OP to do in the meeting would be a very good idea.
    – motosubatsu
    May 17, 2018 at 12:19
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    @MisterPositive - In the UK it is a legal requirement that an employee can bring an additional person with them to any "official" meeting (e.g. disciplinary hearing or redundancy consultation). The company would not be allowed to ask the person to leave.
    – AndyT
    May 17, 2018 at 13:35
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    @MisterPositive as AndyT pointed out in some locations such as the UK they legally have to allow you to bring someone with you. The OP didn't specify a location but did specify "the letter says she can bring another person along for support" so the question as to whether the OP will be allowed in the meeting is moot in this case.
    – motosubatsu
    May 17, 2018 at 13:42
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    @MisterPositive it's more friendly than the US is in many ways, don't worry though there's still plenty of areas where it falls down!
    – motosubatsu
    May 17, 2018 at 13:44

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