Workers have a statutory right to be accompanied in a disciplinary hearing. Or any meeting where a formal warning will be issued. As well as some other disciplinary action will be taken or in appeal hearings. They can be accompanied by a fellow worker, a trade union representative or an official employed by a trade union. Employers must agree to a request from a worker to be accompanied in a Disciplinary Hearing by any one from these categories.
The March 2015 ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures amends the right to be accompanied in a Disciplinary Hearing by:
- employers having to agree to a worker’s request to be accompanied by any companion from one of these categories
- giving workers the right to alter their choice of companion, However, they must choose a companion who is suitable, willing and available on site. Rather than someone from a geographically remote location for example).
Therefore, to exercise the statutory right to be accompanied in a disciplinary hearing a worker must make a “reasonable request”. What is reasonable will depend on the circumstances of each case. You must rearrange the meeting at least once if the worker’s chosen companion is not available for the proposed hearing. Providing that the alternative time is reasonable and not more than 5 working days after the original proposed date.
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