The new ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures came into force on 11 March 2015. The changes are only minor and address the matter of who can be a companion. In practice the changes are unlikely to make any real difference, but as we sometimes get questions about whether an employer can object to the employee’s choice we have set out the changes here:
- Employees now have a complete right to choose whomever they want to accompany them at a hearing, provided their choice is an employee or trade union rep. Employers have no choice but to agree. The Code does however say that an employee must, as a matter of good practice, think about the practicalities of who they choose. For instance, choosing somebody at a different location will make it tricky to arrange. But there still is not scope for the employer to object.
- Employees can change their mind at any time.
- The request doesn’t have to be in writing.
- The employee will have to give the employer enough time to make any necessary arrangements to allow the chosen companion to attend the hearing.
There are no other changes to the Code.