Legal Article - Employment Law

Trade Union Representative at a Disciplinary Hearing

Workers who are required or invited to attend a disciplinary or grievance hearing by their employer are entitled to be accompanied by a “companion” who may be a full time trade union official or a lay trade union officer or workplace representative who has been certified by the union as having received training or having experience of acting as a companion at disciplinary or grievance hearings.

Workers are free to choose an official from any trade union to accompany them whether or not a union is recognised by an employer.

The ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures suggests, however, that where an employer recognises a Trade union, it is good practice that the union official accompanying the worker should be from that union.

The choice, however, is the individual worker’s. The official is only allowed to address the hearing and confer with the worker during the hearing and cannot answer questions on the worker’s behalf.

 The Code, however, recommends that the official should take a full part in the hearings. If the official is not able to attend date of the hearing set by the employer, the worker can insist on an alternative date, which must be within five days of the original date.


Published: 03 Jun 2011


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