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The statutory right to be accompanied factsheet

The right

Under the Employment Relations Act 1999 a worker is entitled to be accompanied at certain disciplinary and grievance hearings. This right applies to all workers, including temps and contract workers, but not the genuinely self-employed.

The right is to be accompanied by a colleague or a full-time trade union official who has been certified by the union as having experience of, or training in, acting as a worker’s representative at such hearings.

This right is, therefore, generally limited to trade union officials or work colleagues. However, where an employee faces losing not only their job, but also their ability to practice their profession as a result of disciplinary proceedings, it is a serious matter.  With so much at stake, case law has established that Article 6 (the right to a fair & public hearing) of the European Convention of Human Rights may apply to internal disciplinary proceedings (at least in the public sector). As such, employees may be entitled to legal representation at a disciplinary hearing. 

The companion should be given paid time off to attend the hearing and to have prior meeting(s) with the worker to discuss the hearing.

A request to be accompanied does not have to be in writing.


Last updated on 21/09/2017 10:40:17 | #Discipline & Grievance