Have I got the right to choose who comes with me to meetings with management?

Yes. You have the right to be accompanied at meetings with management.

Under the Employment Relations Act 1999, you have the right to be accompanied at a disciplinary or grievance hearing by a trade union representative or a fellow worker.

  • All 'workers' have the right to be accompanied, including homeworkers, agency workers, part-time, temporary and casual workers, those on short-term contracts and those who work overseas.
  • The statutory right to be accompanied applies to any hearing or meeting connected with "the performance of a duty by the employer in relation to a worker". This includes meetings to deal with health and safety issues, because your employer has a legal and contractual obligation to take care of your health and safety and to provide a safe system and place of work.
  • The choice of companion is yours. They could be:
    • a paid official of a trade union (regardless of whether the union is recognised or has other members in the workplace);
    • a lay trade union official certified for this role by their union, who has experience of, or training in, acting as a worker's companion at disciplinary or grievance hearings; or
    • a fellow worker.

You can find these rights set out in a code of practice issued by the Government’s Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas). The Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures (PDF, 167KB) outlines best practice which should be followed by your employer.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.

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