From time to time, when you need to undertake a Disciplinary Hearing with a member of staff, you will be asked if they can bring someone in that is different from the work colleague or trade union representative that is covered under an employee’s right to accompaniment.
This may come about in a number of ways:
1. The employee may contact you and ask.
2. The parent may just turn up to the Disciplinary Hearing.
3. The parent may contact you and ask to come.
Let’s address each of those in turn.
The employee has considered your offer to be accompanied by a work colleague or trade union representative and wants their Dad to accompany them. Of course you may also employ the Dad, which gives them the right, you just may want to consider discussing with them whether Dad is the right person, given how involved the Dad is bound to be. If Dad is who they want is it a reasonable request. In a micro business where no other employees, then yes, perhaps. In a business where the colleagues have all given statements regarding the employee’s conduct, perhaps, or where there are special circumstances to consider where adjustments to the norm may be appropriate to ensure a fair hearing.
On the occasions where the parent turns up, its harder to decide. In our letters we encourage employees to advise us of the name of their companion before the hearing, but they aren’t legally obliged to do this. If a parent turns up and wants to accompany so long as you are a) comfortable, (they aren’t being aggressive and abusive) and b) you are satisfied that they aren’t the solicitor and are just the Dad, then I would allow them to accompany their child. Always undertake hearings with a colleague, then if you feel that the hearing is becoming unprofessional you can adjourn.
Where the parent contacts you saying that they are aware of the Disciplinary Hearing, you need to be sure that the employee wants them to attend, and ask them to get the employee to call you to discuss their request. This is a confidentiality issue. Never permit a Dad to attend if its not what the employee wants. Parents can bully their children.
Where there are special circumstances a parent or friend may be appropriate to ensure fairness of the process. Special circumstances can include when someone has a disability, where their health isn’t good, where English isn’t their first language, etc.
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