Right to be accompanied — does a worker’s choice of companion have to be reasonable?

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By Gareth Edwards

Section 10 of the Employment Relations Act 1999 (ERA) states that a worker has the right to be accompanied at disciplinary or grievance hearings by a fellow worker or union official when the worker ‘reasonably requests to be accompanied at the hearing’.

In Roberts v GB Oils Ltd, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) confirmed that a worker’s right to be accompanied at a disciplinary or grievance hearing under section 10 ERA is limited only by the reasonableness of the request to be accompanied, not in the choice of a companion.

Mr Roberts was dismissed for misconduct and a tribunal found that dismissal to be fair. The issue in question at the EAT was whether there had been a breach of Mr Roberts’ right to be accompanied under section 10 ERA…

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