What is the right to be accompanied at disciplinary hearings?
Employees have the statutory right to be accompanied at disciplinary and grievance hearings by a colleague or a trade union representative. The statutory right does not extend to legal representatives or family members. If the employee makes a request to be accompanied, s/he should do so reasonably. For example it may not be reasonable to choose a companion who is in geographically remote location when a suitable person is available at the place of work. It would also not be reasonable to choose a companion whose presence would prejudice a hearing or who has a conflict of interest. If the employee’s chosen companion cannot attend on the date proposed, the employee may offer an alternative time and date so long as it is reasonable and is no more than five working days later than the date proposed by the employer.
In October 2004 the Employment Relations Act 2004 extended the role of the companion so that the companion may now: put forward the employee’s case, sum up the case, respond on the employee’s behalf to any view expressed at the hearing; and confer with the employee during the hearing
However the companion still cannot answer questions on the employee’s behalf. Read more
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