What are your rights to be accompanied at a disciplinary or grievance hearing?

Section 10 of the Employment Relations Act 1999 (the “Act”) states that workers have a right to be accompanied if they make a reasonable request. A “reasonable request” is not defined in the Act

Under the ACAS Code:

  • employers must agree to a worker’s request to be accompanied by any chosen companion from one of the statutory categories of companion, namely a fellow worker, trade union representative or trade union official;
  • a worker may alter their choice of companion if they wish, although as a matter of good practice, workers should bear in mind practicalities. For instance, a worker may choose to be accompanied by a companion who is suitable, willing and available on site rather than someone at a geographically remote location;
  • to exercise the right to be accompanied workers must make a reasonable request. What is reasonable will depend on the circumstances of each individual case. A reasonable request would be one that provides sufficient information and time to allow the employer to deal with the practicalities of the companion’s attendance at the hearing;
  • a worker should ensure that their request is clearly understood, for example by providing the name of the companion where possible; explaining whether they are a fellow worker, trade union representative or trade union official and giving the employer time to make the necessary arrangements to allow the chosen companion to attend.
  • A request to be accompanied does not have to be in writing or made within a particular time frame; and
  • if a worker’s chosen companion is not available the employer must postpone the hearing to a time proposed by the worker provided that the alternative time is reasonable and not more than five working days after the date originally proposed.


Click here for the dismissal and disciplinary page

Senior Executives

Employment Law FAQs

Contact Form

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.