Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.
Would this be the employee's first disciplinary?
OK thank you. Thank you also for the live phone call request. Please leave it with me. I am in court today so will prepare my advice during the day and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Thank you.
Many thanks for your patience. 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
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.
Denying someone’s right to be accompanied is not a criminal matter so no criminal penalties will apply here. Instead section 11 of the legislation allows an employee who has not been allowed to exercise this statutory right to make a claim in the employment tribunal and it can award compensation not exceeding two weeks pay. So such financial compensation is the only remedy, it would not allow the person to challenge the dismissal or procedure in any way and get a second chance.
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