Disciplinary or Grievance Hearings at Work

Mary Gavin

04 July 2014

The Employment Relations (NI) Order 1999 make provision for a worker to be accompanied by a colleague or a trade union official to a disciplinary or a grievance hearing.

If the chosen companion is not available, the employer must postpone the hearing to an alternative time proposed by the worker, provided the alternative time is reasonable and falls within five working days.

The companion is permitted by the law to address the hearing to put the worker’s case and also confer with the worker during the hearing however, the companion cannot answer questions on the worker’s behalf.

A worker is protected against being subjected to a detriment and dismissal is automatically unfair if the reason for dismissal is because the worker sought to exercise the rights of accompaniment or postponement or to accompany a fellow worker as a companion. There is no requirement for a qualifying period of continuous service to claim unfair dismissal in these circumstances.

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