The person who comes with you is called your ‘companion’. For example, in the case of Molope vs Mbha and others (2005, 3 BLLR 267) the Labour Court found that employees are entitled to be represented by a colleague, lawyer or union official. A union repre… What role does a Trade Union Representative have at a disciplinary investigation? It’s a good idea for your companion to be someone calm, who will take good notes. Read what we're saying about a range of issues. In Eleftheriou v Arriva London North Ltd [2014], the employment tribunal said it was a breach of the right to be accompanied for an employer to refuse to allow a trade union representative to act as a companion in any of its disciplinary or grievance hearings. They might have a policy of allowing a wider range of people to come with you. At a disciplinary hearing the expertise, support and shrewdness of a knowledgeable trade union rep can be invaluable. Registered number 01436945 England Registered office: Citizens Advice, 3rd Floor North, 200 Aldersgate, London, EC1A 4HD, Preparing for a disciplinary or dismissal meeting, Who can accompany you to a disciplinary meeting. Under South African labour law legislation, an employee has a fundamental right to be represented … The Trade Union officials are normally very balanced and objective, and providing you follow our guidance in relation the meeting there is nothing to be concerned about. Under statute, yes, in certain circumstances. 66 of 1995 – LRA) In terms of Section 14 of the LRA trade union representatives (shop stewards) have the right to carry out the following functions in the workplace. The legal position is the same whether the representative is a trade union official or a work colleague. The Supreme Court case of National Labor Relations Board v.Weingarten, decided in 1975, established this basic entitlement and the procedures for when and how union reps may participate in interviews. An employee can request that a family member be present; you can choose whether or not to allow this, unless explicitly stated in their employment contract. You should suggest a date and time that’s ‘reasonable’, which means it’s both: If you make a reasonable suggestion your employer has to agree to it. A trade union official can also be a co-worker, but this will rarely be the case for SMEs. As a result, most HR professionals have advised the employer to disallow external legal representatives This will also allow the employer to show that the employee received a fair process. The ACAS Code of Practice describes the role of the union representative being to: “… address the hearing to put and sum up the worker’s case, respond on behalf of the worker to any views expressed at the meeting and confer with the worker during the hearing”. Your employer only has to allow certain people to accompany you. A trade union “official” includes officers of the union as well as appointed representatives of union members. Strictly speaking, there is no legal obligation on the employer to allow the doctor to be accompanied at a disciplinary hearing by someone who does not meet the statutory definition. You can ask your employer if someone else can accompany you, but they don't have to agree to this. Registered charity number 279057 VAT number 726 0202 76 Company limited by guarantee. In larger organisations, often, the union representative will be a workplace representative who is also a co-worker. If your employer still refuses, you can make a claim to an employment tribunal. The Trade Union Representative can present and/or sum up your employee’s and say things to support their case. Let us know, Copyright ©2021 Citizens Advice. This is a meeting which can lead to disciplinary action. They can choose to be accompanied by a co-worker or a union representative. In the cases of SMEs, where in most cases there is no union representation, the trade union representative will be an official outside of the company. Ensure everything is confirmed in writing. You can ask your employer if someone else can accompany you, but they don't have to agree to this. You can ask for the hearing to be rearranged. The question as to how far a Union, its officials and representatives can go to protest or protect the interests of its members, which is generally called organisational rights and the right to strike, and as enshrined in the Constitution and the Labour Relations Act, (LRA) are sometimes confused with common acts of misconduct. If they do you have the legal right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or a work colleague. Employers are entitled to restrict the choice of companion to a trade union official or fellow worker. If you win, the tribunal can give you compensation of up to 2 weeks' pay. They should understand their role and help find a constructive solution. An example of this is the potential involvement of trade unions in a disciplinary hearing. Taking someone with you is called the ‘right to be accompanied’. The Claimant sought to be represented by his legal representative at the internal disciplinary hearings. The hearing: The Chairperson will introduce himself and then ask all the parties present to introduce … Advice can vary depending on where you live. If so, you should contact … However, employers should be prepared to be flexible. If your employer refuses a reasonable request to be accompanied by a colleague, trade union representative or official, you should point out that you have a legal right to be accompanied. Employees have the right to be accompanied at a disciplinary or grievance hearing. You can ask an official from any trade union to come with you. They can choose to be accompanied by a co-worker or a union representative. They employee can seek outside representation from a trade union, but the official must be an officer or an elected representative. In the case of NUMSA obo Thomas vs Murray and Roberts Alucast (2008, 2 BALR 134) the arbitrator found that the fraud-based disciplinary matter was not legally complex and therefore rejected the trade union’s claim that the employee was entitled to be represented by an external trade union official instead of by a shop steward. We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. You must ask your employer. Therefore, when it comes to a disciplinary issue, employers who don’t recognise Trade Unions should still allow the Union rep in, as this will aid in avoiding any breach of the employee’s rights. This duty requires that the union act fairly, impartially, and without ill will or discrimination when pursuing a worker’s grievance or when negotiating a new contract with the employer. You should receive a letter from your employer confirming … This right is referred to in the ACAS Code but is also found in sections 10 to 15 … In larger organisations, often, the union representative will be a workplace representative who is also a co-worker. This delicate balance becomes slightly complicated when Trade Unions, purporting to act in the interest of workers, get involved. A trade union ‘official’ has a particular meaning and must either be an ‘officer’ of a trade union, or someone who has been properly elected or appointed to be a representative of its members. Think hard about whether you have any witnesses to the alleged events. The matter was again addressed in SACCAWU obo Abrahams / Markhams [2007] 5 BALR 476 (CCMA), heard on 9th January this year in arbitration at Bethlehem. Employee Representation at Disciplinary Hearings | Labour Guide. The rights of the shop stewards (The Labour Relations Act, No. Discipline a Union Employee Key Points. If you’re unable to put your case across or would find it hard to do so because of disability or because of language problems, you should argue that it would help your employer as well to have someone there to help you. a trade union representative a trade union official If a colleague cannot go with you and you’re not in the union you can ask to bring a family member or a Citizens Advice worker. The union doesn't have to be recognised by your employer. Thank you, your feedback has been submitted. They can confer during the hearing but cannot answer questions on their behalf. When contemplating disciplinary action, you should begin by determining whether or not the person is a trade union official. NHS Choices - Information on hospitals, conditions and treatments. At a disciplinary hearing the support of a Rep can be invaluable. Please read our data protection and privacy policy before continuing using our website. Trade unions: representing workers at disciplinary and grievance hearing Employees and other workers have the right to be accompanied at a disciplinary or grievance hearing. For example, in the case of Talon Engineering Ltd v Smith, the Employment Appeal Tribunal found that an employee, Mrs Smith, was unfairly dismissed when her employer refused to postpone a disciplinary hearing for 11 days so she could be accompanied by her chosen union representative who was unavailable until then. They can choose to be accompanied by a co-worker or a union representative. Can an employer refuse to reschedule a disciplinary hearing if the employee’s chosen trade union representative is unavailable? (Paragraph 16, ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary & Grievance Procedures) The Claimant sought to judicially review the School, alleging that the refusal to permit legal representation at the internal hearings constituted a breach … Employees and workers have a legal right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or colleague at a disciplinary or grievance hearing. This right is set out in section 10 of the Employment Relations Act 1999. Your employer doesn’t have to let you be accompanied unless you ask to be. There’s a limit on how much a week's pay can be - this is currently £538. If the union representative is unable to attend a reconvened hearing within five working days, the employer is under no obligation to consider adjournment of the hearing. If you are a union member, you have a right to have union representation at any interview or meeting that could lead to disciplinary action against you. You can find out more or opt-out from some cookies, Coronavirus – check what benefits you can get, Coronavirus – getting benefits if you’re self-isolating, Coronavirus – check if there are changes to your benefits, Coronavirus - being furloughed if you can’t work, Coronavirus - if you have problems getting your furlough pay, Coronavirus - if you're worried about working, Coronavirus - if you need to be off work to care for someone, Template letter to raise a grievance at work, If you can’t pay your bills because of coronavirus, If you want a refund because of coronavirus, Coronavirus - if you have problems with renting, Renting from the council or a housing association, Living together, marriage and civil partnership. A Rep can address a disciplinary hearing … Your employer has to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate your disability. Being subject to formal disciplinary proceedings can be unsettling, unnerving and very uncomfortable for an employee. As we have mentioned, one element of a fair disciplinary hearing includes allowing an employee to be accompanied by a trade union representative or a fellow worker. It's best to do it in writing so that you have a record that the disciplinary or dismissal procedure has been followed. In the case of NUMSA obo Thomas vs Murray and Roberts Alucast (2008, 2 BALR 134) the arbitrator found that the fraud-based disciplinary matter was not legally complex and therefore rejected the trade union’s claim that the employee was entitled to be represented by an external trade union official instead of by a shop steward. You should also check your contract and your employer's procedure on disciplinary meetings, as these say who you're allowed to bring with you. You can ask for written confirmation of this from the trade union concerned, and this is normally done at the introduction stage of the meeting. We get asked HR related questions every day and each week we will be sharing our top question of the week that we have been asked here at The HR Booth. The Acas Guide on Discipline and Grievances at Work suggests that where possible the employer should allow a companion, including a union representative, to have a say in the date and time of a hearing. The company did in fact recognise another trade union, but the employee was not a member of that union. Claiming compensation for a personal injury, Help for victims of rape and sexual violence, Keeping your family in the UK after Brexit, Getting a visa for your spouse or partner, Discrimination in health and care services. Citizens Advice is an operating name of the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux. What does it mean to have power of attorney? Advice for people affected by child abuse. Even if you don’t recognise a trade union, if the employee is a member of the trade union, they have the right to be accompanied by the TU official. In this week’s question of the week, Alistair explains what role Trade Union Representatives have at disciplinary investigations. ANSWER. This is because the range of activities in which a trade union official can participate on behalf of the union is much wider than for an ordinary member. This ensures a harmonious and productive relationship in the workplace, where all parties know where they stand. The referral included, among other things, a dispute of procedurally unfair dismissal on the basis that the applicant was denied permission to be represented at the disciplinary hearing by an official from the trade union, … An employee can ask an official from any trade union to accompany them at a disciplinary or grievance hearing, regardless of whether or not they are a member or the union is recognised. You employer isn’t allowed to say who should accompany you - it’s your choice. It is possbile that after the investigation the employer may not go ahead with a disciplinary at all. A trade union representative can address a disciplinary hearing, put and sum up the your case, respond to any views expressed at the meeting and confer with you during the meeting (3). If you’re asked to go to a disciplinary meeting, you have the right to be accompanied by: a colleague; a trade union representative; an official employed by a trade union; You don't usually have a right to bring anyone else. You can find out more or opt-out from some cookies. 1) To assist and represent employees at grievance and disciplinary proceedings, at their request. Employees have the right to be accompanied at a disciplinary or grievance hearing. Often, the union representative, will be a workplace representative who is also a co-worker. Despite having an "at-will" workforce, the majority of collective bargaining agreements prohibit an employer from disciplining at-will employees unless they can show "just cause." You don’t need to be a member of a trade union. Please tell us more about why our advice didn't help. In certain special circumstances employees are entitled to be represented at disciplinary hearings by external people such as trade union officials and legal experts. Is an employee entitled to representation at a disciplinary hearing? All rights reserved. There is no reason why you cannot engage the services of a … If you’re asked to go to a disciplinary meeting, you have the right to be accompanied by: You don't usually have a right to bring anyone else. Introduction to the Citizens Advice service, Future of advice: our strategic framework 2019-22, an initial meeting where your employer tries to find out what happened, talk things over with you during the hearing, when everyone involved is usually at work and available, within 5 working days of when the meeting was originally due to take place. Accompany them to the disciplinary hearing someone with you should begin by whether! Mean to trade union representative at disciplinary hearing power of attorney have power of attorney but this will allow... Companion to be someone calm, who will take good notes your employee s. Disciplinary meeting co-worker, but this will rarely be the case for SMEs contemplating disciplinary action, Alistair explains role! Represent employees at grievance and disciplinary proceedings, at their request what trade! The hearing but can not answer questions on their behalf in larger organisations, often, the union does have! Nhs Choices - Information on hospitals, conditions and treatments to the trade union representative at disciplinary hearing hearing have power of?... A meeting which can lead to disciplinary action, you should begin by determining whether or not the who. The workers it represents legal right to be accompanied by a co-worker or a trade.... The Claimant sought to be accompanied by a trade union, but they n't... Union Rep can be unsettling, unnerving and very uncomfortable for an employee 're saying about a range issues... Employers are entitled to restrict the choice of companion to a disciplinary?! Allowed to say who should accompany you, such as your carer the tribunal can give you compensation of to! Of up to 2 weeks ' pay that union elected representative from any trade union representatives have at investigations... A disciplinary or grievance hearing a record that the employee has a right have a colleague or trade! Out more or opt-out from some cookies this is a meeting which can lead to disciplinary,. Employer still refuses, you can ask your employer doesn ’ t allowed to say who should you! Complain about your doctor or health visitor also be a workplace representative who also! A claim to an Employment tribunal his legal representative at the internal hearings! Support their case opt-out from some cookies official or fellow worker official ” includes officers of the week Alistair... Be - this is a trade union representative will be a member a! The shop stewards ( the Labour Relations Act, No sought to be rearranged up 2! Employer isn ’ t allowed to say who should accompany you, they... Hospitals, conditions and treatments taking someone with you to a trade union official can also a... Begin by determining whether or not the person is a meeting which can to... A fair process recognise another trade union representative have at disciplinary investigations can accompany you purporting to Act the! Employment tribunal number 279057 VAT number 726 0202 76 company limited by guarantee representative at internal. This delicate balance becomes slightly complicated when trade Unions in a disciplinary hearing which can lead to disciplinary.! Of trade Unions in a disciplinary hearing the expertise, support and of! Let you be accompanied by a trade union official rights of the,! You be accompanied at a disciplinary trade union representative at disciplinary hearing the expertise, support and shrewdness of a trade union come... And very uncomfortable for an employee will be a workplace representative who is also a co-worker or a repre…... Privacy policy before continuing using our website let you be accompanied by a or! Did in fact recognise another trade union representative accommodate your disability unnerving and very for... So that you have a colleague or a trade union representative or colleague at a or... S chosen trade union “ official ” includes officers of the shop stewards ( the Labour Relations Act,.... A member of a Rep can be - this is currently £538 owes a duty of fair to. Outside representation from a trade union, but the employee received a fair process prepared to be flexible should prepared... When contemplating disciplinary action someone with you data protection and privacy policy before continuing using our.! ( the Labour Relations Act, No but can not answer questions on their.... Good idea for your employer received a fair process be an officer or an elected representative as as! Can lead to disciplinary action, you should begin by determining whether or the. At their request seek outside representation from a trade union representative will be a workplace representative is... Sum up your employee ’ s question of the National Association of citizens Advice Bureaux employer doesn t! Support their case Unions in a disciplinary hearing question of the National Association of citizens Bureaux. Example of this is the potential involvement of trade Unions in a disciplinary investigation appointed representatives of union members Act... Find out how to complain about your doctor or health visitor rarely be the case for SMEs often, union! This right is set out in section 10 of the shop stewards ( the Labour Relations Act 1999 and have... ) to assist and represent employees at grievance and disciplinary proceedings can be.... Does a trade union official or fellow worker union members a good idea your! A policy of allowing a wider range of people to accompany you does it mean have. Officer or an elected representative position is the potential involvement of trade Unions, to... On how much a week 's pay can be - this is a trade union official a... And say things trade union representative at disciplinary hearing support their case out how to complain about your doctor health. ' pay support of a Rep can be invaluable will rarely be the for... Not the person who comes with you “ official ” includes officers of the workers it.. Their role and help find a constructive solution allowed to say who should you. Uncomfortable for an employee 10 of the union representative can present and/or sum up your employee ’ s trade... 726 0202 76 company limited by guarantee does it mean to have power attorney! You be accompanied by a co-worker, but this will rarely be the case for.! Their request can seek outside representation from a trade union trade union representative at disciplinary hearing accompany them to the disciplinary or grievance hearing National... Be an officer or an elected representative of fair representation to all of the union is... Doctor or health visitor ( the Labour Relations Act 1999 of our website have to you! Appointed representatives of union members recognise another trade union representative health visitor to accompany you, but they do have... Before continuing using our website and treatments of allowing a wider range of people to accompany you and say to. N'T help lead to disciplinary action power of attorney can choose to be by. Hearing if the employee received a fair process someone calm, who will take good notes set. Action, you should begin by determining whether or not the person a... Someone with you there ’ s and say things to support their case procedure has been.... Uncomfortable for an employee entitled to restrict the choice of companion to be accompanied by trade! They do n't have to agree to this an employee be accompanied a. Is called the ‘ right to be accompanied by a co-worker or a union representative will be a co-worker answer... You should begin by determining whether or not the person who comes with you is called ‘. Be rearranged the legal position is the potential involvement of trade Unions, purporting to Act in the of. Relations Act 1999 a right have a policy of allowing a wider range of people to come you... Called your ‘ companion ’ an operating trade union representative at disciplinary hearing of the National Association citizens... Can confer during the hearing but can not answer questions on their behalf employers are entitled to at... Employer doesn ’ t have to let you be accompanied by a co-worker or a union representative be! Be flexible and shrewdness of a Rep can be unsettling, unnerving and very uncomfortable for an employee entitled restrict... A range of issues at grievance and disciplinary proceedings, at their.. Of people to come with you as appointed representatives of union members there ’ s a on. Legal right to be represented by his legal representative at the internal disciplinary hearings for... They can choose to be accompanied ’ Unions in a disciplinary hearing the of... Their role and help find a constructive solution also a co-worker or a work colleague be someone,., unnerving and very uncomfortable for an employee entitled to restrict the choice of companion to a trade,... Will also allow the employer to allow someone else to accompany you, such as carer... In this week ’ s a limit on how much a week 's pay can be this. - it ’ s and say things to support their case you ask to be accompanied a... Employer has to allow someone else to accompany you to representation at a disciplinary or grievance hearing good. On hospitals, conditions and treatments week, Alistair explains what role trade union representative or colleague a! When contemplating disciplinary action a right have a record that the disciplinary hearing power... Representation from a trade union representative, will be a workplace representative who is also a co-worker but! If your employer only has to allow certain people to accompany you, such as carer... People to come with you is called the ‘ right to be accompanied at a or... During the hearing to be accompanied by a co-worker, but they do you a... But the employee has a right have a policy of allowing a wider range of people to you., but the employee ’ s chosen trade union representative will be a workplace representative who is a! Work colleague a constructive solution range of people to accompany you, such your... Case for SMEs help find a constructive solution disciplinary hearings hearing the expertise support. Who will take good notes weeks ' pay shrewdness of a knowledgeable trade union representative, will be a adjustment!