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Myth 7 - Disciplinary & Grievance Hearings

Myth:

A worker can be accompanied by a union official at a discipline or grievance hearing only if the employer recognises the relevant union.

Fact:

The Employment Act 2006 gives employees a right to be accompanied at a disciplinary or grievance hearing by a companion of their choice who is a full-time trade union official, a lay trade union official or another of the employer’s workers.

There is, however, no requirement for a trade union official accompanying a worker to be from a recognised trade union.

If the employee is a member of a non-recognised trade union, he or she may be accompanied by an official from that trade union. Indeed, there is no necessity for the worker to be a member of any trade union to be accompanied by a trade union official, although, in practice, trade unions rarely support workers who are not their members. 

The Code of Practice on Disciplinary & Grievance Procedures 2007 provides more information about conducting Disciplinary or Grievance Hearing. Whilst this isn't law as such the Employment Tribunal would expect employers to have followed it, if they were ever questioned.