Winckworth Sherwood

UK 200 2013 position: 94

A worker’s right to be accompanied

Section 10 of the Employment Relations Act 1999 (ERA) states that workers have a right to be accompanied at a disciplinary or grievance hearing where their request to be accompanied is reasonable. What constitutes a reasonable request is not defined in the act. However, the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures states that it would not normally be reasonable for a worker to insist on being accompanied by a companion who would have to come from a remote geographic location if someone suitable and willing was available on site, or by someone whose presence would prejudice the hearing.

However, early last year, the Employment Appeal Tribunal in the case of Toal and another v GB Oils suggested that the code of practice did not accurately reflect the law on the statutory right of accompaniment…

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