The Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures has been revised with effect from 11 March 2015. The changes relate to a worker’s right to be accompanied and confirm the following:
- Workers have an absolute right to choose their companion – so long as that companion is a fellow worker, trade union representative or trade union official. Employers cannot refuse a request to be accompanied by a companion from one of these categories (paragraphs 14 and 36)
- As a matter of good practice workers should think about the practicalities of the arrangements e.g. by considering the geographical location of their chosen companion (paragraphs 14 and 36)
- Workers can alter their choice of companion if they wish (paragraphs 14 and 36)
- Workers should make a reasonable request. Although it does not need to be in writing or submitted within a certain timeframe, employers should be given enough time to put arrangements in place to allow the companion to attend. Similarly, workers should give their employer the name of their companion and say which statutory category they fall in to (paragraphs 15 and 37)
- If the companion is unavailable at the time proposed for the hearing by the employer, the hearing should be postponed to a time proposed by the worker – provided that this is reasonable and not more than 5 working days after the original date (paragraphs 16 and 38)
If you have any questions about the new guidance and what it means for you, please get in touch with a member of our team.
On March 17, 2015