66 of 1995 – LRA) In terms of Section 14 of the LRA trade union representatives (shop stewards) have the right to carry out the following functions in the workplace. It’s a good idea for your companion to be someone calm, who will take good notes. An example of this is the potential involvement of trade unions in a disciplinary hearing. 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The legal position is the same whether the representative is a trade union official or a work colleague. The rights of the shop stewards (The Labour Relations Act, No. There is no reason why you cannot engage the services of a … Trade unions: representing workers at disciplinary and grievance hearing Employees and other workers have the right to be accompanied at a disciplinary or grievance hearing. Therefore, when it comes to a disciplinary issue, employers who don’t recognise Trade Unions should still allow the Union rep in, as this will aid in avoiding any breach of the employee’s rights. If you’re unable to put your case across or would find it hard to do so because of disability or because of language problems, you should argue that it would help your employer as well to have someone there to help you. They can choose to be accompanied by a co-worker or a union representative. However, employers should be prepared to be flexible. Your employer doesn’t have to let you be accompanied unless you ask to be. If your employer refuses a reasonable request to be accompanied by a colleague, trade union representative or official, you should point out that you have a legal right to be accompanied. This ensures a harmonious and productive relationship in the workplace, where all parties know where they stand. In the case of NUMSA obo Thomas vs Murray and Roberts Alucast (2008, 2 BALR 134) the arbitrator found that the fraud-based disciplinary matter was not legally complex and therefore rejected the trade union’s claim that the employee was entitled to be represented by an external trade union official instead of by a shop steward. A union repre… This duty requires that the union act fairly, impartially, and without ill will or discrimination when pursuing a worker’s grievance or when negotiating a new contract with the employer. If you’re asked to go to a disciplinary meeting, you have the right to be accompanied by: You don't usually have a right to bring anyone else. You should also check your contract and your employer's procedure on disciplinary meetings, as these say who you're allowed to bring with you. There’s a limit on how much a week's pay can be - this is currently £538. Strictly speaking, there is no legal obligation on the employer to allow the doctor to be accompanied at a disciplinary hearing by someone who does not meet the statutory definition. Let us know, Copyright ©2021 Citizens Advice. What does it mean to have power of attorney? They can choose to be accompanied by a co-worker or a union representative. (Paragraph 16, ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary & Grievance Procedures) In Eleftheriou v Arriva London North Ltd [2014], the employment tribunal said it was a breach of the right to be accompanied for an employer to refuse to allow a trade union representative to act as a companion in any of its disciplinary or grievance hearings. The employee attempted to attend a reconvened disciplinary hearing with a representative from a trade union that the company did not recognise. We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Most HR professionals are aware that Schedule 8 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) provides that the employee should be allowed the assistance of a trade union representative or fellow employee. They can choose to be accompanied by a co-worker or a union representative. A trade union “official” includes officers of the union as well as appointed representatives of union members. The company did in fact recognise another trade union, but the employee was not a member of that union. When contemplating disciplinary action, you should begin by determining whether or not the person is a trade union official. For example, in the case of Talon Engineering Ltd v Smith, the Employment Appeal Tribunal found that an employee, Mrs Smith, was unfairly dismissed when her employer refused to postpone a disciplinary hearing for 11 days so she could be accompanied by her chosen union representative who was unavailable until then. Registered charity number 279057 VAT number 726 0202 76 Company limited by guarantee. The union doesn't have to be recognised by your employer. In certain special circumstances employees are entitled to be represented at disciplinary hearings by external people such as trade union officials and legal experts. The School refused. Often, the union representative, will be a workplace representative who is also a co-worker. Is there anything wrong with this page? You employer isn’t allowed to say who should accompany you - it’s your choice. Under South African labour law legislation, an employee has a fundamental right to be represented … If they do you have the legal right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or a work colleague. They might have a policy of allowing a wider range of people to come with you. ANSWER. You should suggest a date and time that’s ‘reasonable’, which means it’s both: If you make a reasonable suggestion your employer has to agree to it. If you are a union member, you have a right to have union representation at any interview or meeting that could lead to disciplinary action against you. Please tell us more about why our advice didn't help. Despite having an "at-will" workforce, the majority of collective bargaining agreements prohibit an employer from disciplining at-will employees unless they can show "just cause." Registered number 01436945 England Registered office: Citizens Advice, 3rd Floor North, 200 Aldersgate, London, EC1A 4HD, Preparing for a disciplinary or dismissal meeting, Who can accompany you to a disciplinary meeting. The referral included, among other things, a dispute of procedurally unfair dismissal on the basis that the applicant was denied permission to be represented at the disciplinary hearing by an official from the trade union, … Introduction to the Citizens Advice service, Future of advice: our strategic framework 2019-22, an initial meeting where your employer tries to find out what happened, talk things over with you during the hearing, when everyone involved is usually at work and available, within 5 working days of when the meeting was originally due to take place. Discipline a Union Employee Key Points. We get asked HR related questions every day and each week we will be sharing our top question of the week that we have been asked here at The HR Booth. Even if you don’t recognise a trade union, if the employee is a member of the trade union, they have the right to be accompanied by the TU official. It is possbile that after the investigation the employer may not go ahead with a disciplinary at all. Advice can vary depending on where you live. At a disciplinary hearing the expertise, support and shrewdness of a knowledgeable trade union rep can be invaluable. They can confer during the hearing but cannot answer questions on their behalf. At a disciplinary hearing the support of a Rep can be invaluable. This delicate balance becomes slightly complicated when Trade Unions, purporting to act in the interest of workers, get involved. Employees and workers have a legal right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or colleague at a disciplinary or grievance hearing. A trade union official can also be a co-worker, but this will rarely be the case for SMEs. Citizens Advice is an operating name of the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux. As a result, most HR professionals have advised the employer to disallow external legal representatives This is because the range of activities in which a trade union official can participate on behalf of the union is much wider than for an ordinary member. The Claimant sought to judicially review the School, alleging that the refusal to permit legal representation at the internal hearings constituted a breach … You can ask your employer if someone else can accompany you, but they don't have to agree to this. What role does a Trade Union Representative have at a disciplinary investigation? The question as to how far a Union, its officials and representatives can go to protest or protect the interests of its members, which is generally called organisational rights and the right to strike, and as enshrined in the Constitution and the Labour Relations Act, (LRA) are sometimes confused with common acts of misconduct. Your employer only has to allow certain people to accompany you. The Acas Guide on Discipline and Grievances at Work suggests that where possible the employer should allow a companion, including a union representative, to have a say in the date and time of a hearing. Employees have the right to be accompanied at a disciplinary or grievance hearing. NHS Choices - Information on hospitals, conditions and treatments. The matter was again addressed in SACCAWU obo Abrahams / Markhams [2007] 5 BALR 476 (CCMA), heard on 9th January this year in arbitration at Bethlehem. a workplace trade union representative who's certified or trained in acting as a companion; an official employed by a trade union; ... For more details on holding disciplinary hearings, you can use Discipline and grievances at work: the Acas guide (PDF, 841KB, 79 pages). The Trade Union officials are normally very balanced and objective, and providing you follow our guidance in relation the meeting there is nothing to be concerned about. Find out how to complain about your doctor or health visitor. They should understand their role and help find a constructive solution. They employee can seek outside representation from a trade union, but the official must be an officer or an elected representative. An employee can ask an official from any trade union to accompany them at a disciplinary or grievance hearing, regardless of whether or not they are a member or the union is recognised. The hearing: The Chairperson will introduce himself and then ask all the parties present to introduce … Taking someone with you is called the ‘right to be accompanied’. Schedule 8 of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 [LRA] provides that an employee is entitled to the assistance of a trade union representative or a fellow employee.. Who is a trade union representative? If so, you should contact … If the union representative is unable to attend a reconvened hearing within five working days, the employer is under no obligation to consider adjournment of the hearing. Think hard about whether you have any witnesses to the alleged events. You can ask an official from any trade union to come with you. Under statute, yes, in certain circumstances. It could be a reasonable adjustment for your employer to allow someone else to accompany you, such as your carer. Employee Representation at Disciplinary Hearings | Labour Guide. A trade union representative can address a disciplinary hearing, put and sum up the your case, respond to any views expressed at the meeting and confer with you during the meeting (3). In larger organisations, often, the union representative will be a workplace representative who is also a co-worker. An official of a trade union whom the union has certified in writing as having experience of, or as having received training in, acting as a worker’s companion at disciplinary or grievance hearings; A work colleague; A trade union 'official' has a particular statutory meaning and must either be an 'officer' of a trade union, or someone who has been properly elected or appointed to be a representative of its … The person who comes with you is called your ‘companion’. Ensure everything is confirmed in writing. For example, in the case of Molope vs Mbha and others (2005, 3 BLLR 267) the Labour Court found that employees are entitled to be represented by a colleague, lawyer or union official. A trade union ‘official’ has a particular meaning and must either be an ‘officer’ of a trade union, or someone who has been properly elected or appointed to be a representative of its members. In the cases of SMEs, where in most cases there is no union representation, the trade union representative will be an official outside of the company. You should receive a letter from your employer confirming … a trade union representative a trade union official If a colleague cannot go with you and you’re not in the union you can ask to bring a family member or a Citizens Advice worker. The Trade Union Representative can present and/or sum up your employee’s and say things to support their case. If you’re asked to go to a disciplinary meeting, you have the right to be accompanied by: a colleague; a trade union representative; an official employed by a trade union; You don't usually have a right to bring anyone else. You can ask for the hearing to be rearranged. Is an employee entitled to representation at a disciplinary hearing? A union owes a duty of fair representation to all of the workers it represents. It's best to do it in writing so that you have a record that the disciplinary or dismissal procedure has been followed. If you win, the tribunal can give you compensation of up to 2 weeks' pay. The employee has a right have a colleague or a trade union representative accompany them to the disciplinary hearing. You don’t have the right to be accompanied to either: Even though you don’t have a legal right to be accompanied, you can ask your employer to let you bring someone with you - but they don’t have to agree to it. 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