Employees have an absolute right to be accompanied to a disciplinary or grievance hearing under section 10 of the Employment Relations Act 1999.
A companion can be an appropriate union representative or one of the employer’s other workers.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has held that an employer breached section 10 of the Employment Relations Act 1999 when it refused an employee’s request to be accompanied at a grievance hearing by a certified union officer.
The EAT held that where a Tribunal finds that this right has been breached but that no loss or detriment has been suffered by the employee, the Tribunal should “make an award of nominal compensation only, either in the sum of £2 (which replaced the traditional sum of 40 shillings) or in some other small sum of that order“.
Whilst the compensation for breaching an employee’s right to be accompanied at a disciplinary or grievance hearing may be nominal, it is advisable that all employers do offer employees this right as it may be taken into account by a Tribunal in relation to whether any dismissal is otherwise fair.
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