Winckworth Sherwood

UK 200 2013 position: 94

Grievance and disciplinary hearings: does particular companion have to be a 'reasonable' choice?

In the case of Toal and another v GB Oils, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decided that it does not.

The claimants, Mr Toal and Mr Hughes raised grievances with the respondent, GB Oils. They were subsequently invited to a grievance meeting. Each made it clear that, pursuant to section 10 of the Employment Relations Act 1999 (the Act), they wished to be accompanied. They chose Mr Lean who was a union official appropriately certified as required under section 10(3) of the Act.

The respondent refused the claimants’ request to be accompanied by Mr Lean, and they therefore chose a different companion, a fellow worker, Mr Hodgkin, who attended the grievance meetings with them instead. When the outcome of the grievance was unsatisfactory from the claimants’ point of view, they appealed and Mr Hodgkin was replaced by an appropriately certified union official, Mr Silkstone. Following the failed appeal, they issued a claim in the Employment Tribunal (ET) concerning their right to be accompanied at the grievance meetings…

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