Q&A: Union reps and disciplinary hearings

Employees have the right to be accompanied at any disciplinary hearing that could lead to formal action, as well as any grievance hearing.

You should inform the employee of this right in the invitation to the meeting.

An employee can be accompanied by a colleague or a trade union official – even if they’re not a member of the union. However, it’s unlikely that a union will represent an employee if they’re not a paid up member.

When making a request, employees must be reasonable. If the employee’s companion is unavailable for the proposed meeting date, they can request a postponement within five working days for their companion to attend.

Here at Citation, we look at any requests for representation on its merits. So, for example, if someone is a young worker, we’d allow them to bring in a parent. Or if they’re disabled and want a family member as support, we’d allow that too.

We advise pragmatically, so we’d advise on any request you were faced with on a case by case basis.

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