Hi there, sorry I was offline when you replied. The legal right for workers to be accompanied at certain meetings in the workplace is dealt with under sections 10-15 of the Employment Relations Act 1999. It states that where a worker is required to attend a disciplinary or grievance hearing and the worker 'reasonably requests' to be accompanied at that hearing, the employer must allow them to be accompanied by a 'single companion’.
The meetings that are covered by this right are:
• Formal disciplinary hearing (any hearing where a warning is to be issued, other disciplinary action is to be taken, or a sanction is confirmed, such as an appeal hearing) - it will include hearings that may lead to dismissal if they are related to misconduct or capability issues
• Formal grievance hearing
There is usually no legal right to be accompanied at an investigatory meeting. However a High Court ruling stated that there may be some circumstances when a companion should be allowed in investigatory meetings if s very serious allegation is being investigated such as when a professional’s fitness to practice is in question or the employer’s decision might seriously affect the employee’s ability to obtain further employment in their field.
Finally, when it comes to the choice of companion, the worker is entitled to be accompanied either by a trade union representative or a workplace colleague. There is no right to be accompanied by family, friends or any legal representatives, such as lawyers.
So you need to check the nature of the meeting first – if it is an investigatory meeting it is very unlikely he would be allowed a companion because this matter is about a pre-existing issue on his criminal record, it is not something which will be treated as so serious that it will create a new record for him that can affect his ability to get work in this field in the future.
This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the rights he has if he is denied the chance to be accompanied when entitled to by law, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you