A recent panel of inquiry has recommended that disciplinary action be taken against me and others for endangering health and safety. What are my rights?

As with any other disciplinary hearing, you are entitled to be treated fairly. Your employer must follow the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures (PDF, 167KB). If better procedures have been negotiated at your workplace, your employer should follow them.

If there is a recognised union at your workplace, it is quite likely that better procedural rights will have been negotiated, including for example a right to take your rep to any investigation meeting, including any reconstruction of the relevant incident.

As always, you are entitled to know in advance of the hearing what you and your colleagues are being accused of. You should be shown all the evidence on which the employer relies, including video footage if appropriate. If there is a reconstruction, you should be invited to attend. You should be given the opportunity to give your version of events.

The more serious the allegations, the more rigorous is your employer’s duty to investigate properly. Your employer must follow a fair procedure and approach the issues with an open mind, giving equal weight to evidence that suggests you are innocent, alongside any evidence suggestive of guilt.

You have a statutory right to be accompanied by a union official or a work colleague.

If disciplinary action is taken as a result of the hearing, you are entitled to appeal.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASAWA), it is an offence for anyone to interfere with anything provided in the interests of health and safety at work. If it is found that you and your colleagues have endangered health and safety, you could be dismissed 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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