Q An employee has made a request to bring a workplace companion along to a disciplinary hearing, but we think they are an unreasonable choice. Could we face any financial penalty if we don’t allow them in?
AA workplace companion can be either: 1) a colleague; 2) a trade union representative; or 3) a union official (who is certified as competent). However, an employee’s choice must be reasonable for example, the individual cannot be involved in the dispute or as a material witness, or be expected to travel from a remote location.
But if you refuse a workplace companion outright without good reason the employee could bring a tribunal claim against you. Their entitlement to be accompanied during a disciplinary hearing is a statutory right and an employee cannot be made to forego it. Where this happens, the maximum compensatory tribunal award is £760 (there is no minimum level). This figure is based on two weeks’ statutory pay at the current rate of £380 per week.