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Code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures to be amended

Acas is to amend its "Code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures" following a recent Employment Appeal Tribunal ruling.

If a worker ‘reasonably requests’ to be accompanied at a disciplinary or grievance hearing they have a statutory right to a companion. In the recent case, the employer had refused two employees' request to be accompanied at a grievance meeting by a particular union official.

The employer argued to the tribunal that the word "reasonably" applies to the choice of companion as well as the request to be accompanied. However, the EAT found  that there is no requirement for the choice of companion to accompany an employee to a disciplinary or grievance meeting to be reasonable, so long as the companion falls within one of the permitted categories (i.e. he or she is a fellow worker or trade union official).

The Tribunal therefore rejected the current guidance in the Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures, which states that "it would not normally be reasonable for workers to insist on being accompanied by a companion whose presence would prejudice the hearing nor would it be reasonable for a worker to ask to be accompanied by a companion from a remote geographical location if someone suitable and willing was available on site". This has led to ACAS announcing that the guidance will be updated.

If you need help with disciplinary or grievance procedures or are facing an employment tribunal claim, please contact Vaishali Thakerar at Lawson-West on 0116 212 1000.

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Coronavirus: It is ‘Business As Usual’ at Lawson-West

We’ve made plans to continue to deliver the best service during the pandemic and we’re committed to helping clients over the coming weeks and months.

From time to time, we will be posting updates about our business operational response to the implications of the virus on our website and on our social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

For now, you can be assured that we are ‘Open for Business’ and here to help you with your legal needs. You can email your regular contact at Lawson-West and we will respond, alternatively, email or continue to browse our website at for more information about our services and how to contact us.

We are driven by our commitment to help others.
We are here. For you.

Lawson-West Directors

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