Revised Acas code on disciplinary and grievance procedures

EMPLOYERS must agree to a worker's request to be accompanied by any chosen companion from one of the statutory categories at disciplinary and grievance hearings as part of revised Acas guidance.

The updated Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures contains amended sections dealing with the right to be accompanied at hearings, stating that employees have an absolute right to be accompanied by a companion of their choice.

However, it does urge workers as a matter of good practice to consider the practicalities of the arrangements and select a companion who is suitable, willing and available on site rather than someone from a geographically remote location.

The revised code indicates that a worker should provide the name of the companion where possible and the category from which they are drawn (fellow worker, a trade union representative or a trade union official).

A request to be accompanied does not have to be in writing or within a certain time frame. However, workers should give the employer enough time to deal with the companion's attendance at the meeting.