Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures - 3rd April 2011

October 2013

Readers please note:

A recent ruling from the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) (Toal and another v GB Oils Ltd UKEAT/0569/12) has clarified the rules about who workers can choose to bring with them to grievance hearings.

In a case concerning a dispute between two workers and an employer over their choice of companion for a grievance hearing, the EAT found that the workers had the right to be accompanied at a disciplinary or grievance hearing  from the approved category of a trade union official, certified union representative or fellow worker.

The dispute centred on whether the workers' choice had to be 'reasonable' or whether it was only the 'request to be accompanied' that had to be reasonable. The EAT ruled that there was no requirement for the choice of companion to be reasonable, as long as the choice came from an approved category.

In light of this decision the Agency is currently reviewing its Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures.

This Code of Practice provides practical guidance to employers, workers and their representatives on:

  • the statutory requirements relating to disciplinary and dismissal issues;
  • good employment practice in dealing with grievance issues
  • what constitutes reasonable behaviour when dealing with disciplinary and grievance issues;
  • drawing up and using disciplinary and grievance procedures; and
  • a worker’s statutory right to bring a companion to grievance and disciplinary hearings.

This Code of Practice provides for the repeal of the existing statutory workplace grievance procedures under the Employment (Northern Ireland) Order 2003. The requirements of this Code in relation to workplace grievances are similar to the previous statutory obligations, whilst the statutory requirements regarding dismissal and discipline remain unchanged by this Code.

This page will be uploaded on 3rd April 2011

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