Q&As

An employee has asked for her husband to be her companion at a disciplinary hearing. Do I have to allow him to attend with her?

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Published on LexisPSL on 27/11/2013

The following Employment Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • An employee has asked for her husband to be her companion at a disciplinary hearing. Do I have to allow him to attend with her?
  • Check your disciplinary policy
  • Statutory right to request to be accompanied
  • Consider reasonable adjustments
  • Consider Acas Code of Practice
  • Practical tips
  • What if I decide not to allow the husband to attend anyway?

Check your disciplinary policy

The first step is to check your disciplinary policy to see what it says about who may accompany a worker to a disciplinary hearing. It is unlikely to state that a worker's spouse may act as a companion, but if it does, you should allow the husband to attend.

Statutory right to request to be accompanied

Any worker who is required or invited by their employer to attend a disciplinary or grievance hearing, and makes a reasonable request to be accompanied, has the right to be accompanied at that hearing.

The right to be accompanied applies to disciplinary hearings which could result in:

  1. the worker receiving a formal warning. Disciplinary hearings at which the worst possible outcome for the worker is an informal warning are not covered, although a warning will not be considered 'informal' for these purposes simply because you give it that label, eg any warning which is confirmed in writing and forms part of the worker's disciplinary record is likely to be considered a formal warning, thus attracting the right to be accompanied

  2. you taking 'some other action' with regard to the worker. This probably means some other disciplinary action

  3. the confirmation of either a formal warning that has been issued or some other action that has been taken (ie disciplinary appeal hearings)

The worker may choose the person she wishes to

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