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Category: Employment Law
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HR are refusing to let me be accompanied by someone in a

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HR are refusing to let me be accompanied by someone in a Welfare Meeting. Can I have a union rep with me or a member of staff?
JA: Was this discussed with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: just HR who is the Director of HR
JA: Does the workplace operate with employees, freelancers, consultants, contractors or with unionised employees?
Customer: Unionised employees and employees. It's a large college.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: it's a long standing problem and Occupational Health have reported that it is 'wholly college's fault' that has made me ill and that unless management do something to resolve things it is 'heading towards arbitration'.

Good morning, thank you for contacting Just Answer my name is***** am a solicitor and I will be assisting you today. Has the employer provided a reason for why they are not allowing a colleague or union representative to accompany you?

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
They say I have no right to be accompanied and that the meeting is supportive which I know it is. But because my mental health is so severe at the moment i need someone with me. HR wants me to ring today but I need to know if I can have someone with me.
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
There was a meeting due a couple of weeks ago but I asked for it to be postponed due to a bereavement which was a massive shock to us but they said they still wanted to meet with me. I asked 4 times to allow someone to be with me but they wouldn't budge. I sent in a written submission instead and nominated my union rep to go in my place which they didn't allow and postponed the meeting till Friday 11th June.
Customer: replied 10 days ago.

Thank you for the clarification, your employer is in essence correct, the right to be accompanied does not relate to welfare meetings or other informal meetings.

However, I would always advise employers that it is best practice to allow an employee to be accompanied in any form of meeting. I can see that you have tried to resolve this with the employer amicably the next step would be to go down a more formal route, and raise a written grievance in relation to how you have been treated and the lack of flexibility from the employer surrounding the meeting.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Thank you Matthew, I really appreciate your help. Sometimes I feel like I'm banging my head against a brick wall.

Glad to be off assistance, I note you refer to an illness and the fact that you are being invited to a welfare meeting you may be granted further protections under the Equality Act 2010 and the provisions that relate to discrimination on the grounds of disability this should be referenced in your grievance (if applicable).

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
I am registered disabled at college due to severe bipolar depression and in 2019 Occupational Health reported that I would qualify for the Equality Act. It is a very ugly matter but I will put that in as well. My union are dealing with the issues I have had the past 4 years with bullying, micromanaging and especially targeting since the medical issue was disclosed but as yet I am still waiting to hear from them.

I am sorry to hear about the current circumstance, if these matters are not resolved especially after you have raised your grievance and appealed. It would be worth contacting ACAS and entering into early conciliation.

This is a free and impartial service and the ACAS will endeavour to mediate between you and your employer, I often find that once ACAS become involved employers usually take further actions to resolve matters.

If after ACAS involvement has lapsed they will then issue a certificate, this certificate allows you to bring a calim to the employment tribunal if this is an avenue you feel you wish to explore.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
That's great, thank you. I will see what they say today. I have emailed the Principal as well so hopefully she will step in.

I wish you all the best, ***** ***** not hesitate to contact me if I can assist you further.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** good day

You too.

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