13 March 2015: Updated ACAS Code & the Right to be Accompanied
The updated ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures plus non-statutory guidance came into effect on the 11 March 2015.
Amongst other things the updated code confirms that employers must agree to a worker’s request to be accompanied to a disciplinary or grievance meeting by any chosen companion from one of the statutory categories, (a fellow worker, or trade union representative or official).
The update Code explains that the statutory requirement for such a request to be “reasonable”, applies to the making of the request, not to the worker’s choice of companion. It also states that a worker can change their chosen companion without waiving their right to change again.
Acas has also updated page 24 of its non-statutory guide, Discipline and grievances at work: the Acas guide, to make it clear that employers can allow employees to be accompanied by companions who are not a fellow worker, or trade union representative or official.
However there is no statutory right to be accompanied by (say) a family member or legal representative. Whilst many employers might agree to a request to be accompanied by a family member, most will not agree to a legal representative being present.
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