What role does a Trade Union Representative have at a disciplinary investigation?

24 November 2015 | Disciplinary

‘What is the role of trade union representative at disciplinary hearing?’ This is one of the most popular questions we get asked about.

Trade union representatives provide support and representation to the employee who is being investigated. Therefore, they can play an important role in the process. Employees have the right to be accompanied and can choose to bring a co-worker or a union representative.

It’s important you fully understand the role of a union representative before you start the investigation meeting. We have created this article to help you do just that.

What is a Trade Union Representative

In larger organisations, often, the trade union representative at disciplinary hearing will be a workplace representative who is also a co-worker. 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.

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.

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. You can ask for written confirmation of this from the trade union concerned. This is normally done at the introduction stage of the meeting. 

Here are some potential roles and responsibilities of a trade union representative at disciplinary hearing:

Advising the employee

The representative can explain the employer’s policies and procedures, and provide guidance on how to respond to the allegations. They can also help the employee prepare for any meetings or interviews.

Attending meetings

The representative can also attend disciplinary meetings with the employee to provide support and take notes. In some cases, the representative may be allowed to speak on behalf of the employee. 

Furthermore, they can present and/or sum up your employee’s and say things to support their case. They can confer during the hearing but cannot answer questions on their behalf.

The trade union representative at disciplinary hearing are normally very balanced and objective.

Providing you follow our guidance in relation to the meeting, there is nothing to be concerned about.

Reviewing Evidence

The representative can review any evidence presented by the employer and provide feedback to the employee on how to respond.

Challenging the employer’s case

They can also challenge the employer’s case if they believe there are inaccuracies or inconsistencies. Furthermore, they can ask questions and seek clarification from the employer’s representatives.

Negotiating a settlement

If the employer and employee are able to reach a settlement agreement, the representative can assist with negotiating the terms of the agreement.

Do you need help with a disciplinary hearing?

As well as understanding the role of a trade union representative at disciplinary hearing, it’s also important to know how to conduct the disciplinary process correctly.

Disciplinary hearings are a necessary and important process for any business to address issues of misconduct, performance, or other violations of company policy. However, conducting disciplinary hearings can be a challenging and time-consuming task for businesses.

Our HR consultants can provide valuable support to businesses by offering guidance and expertise in the disciplinary hearing process. We can help ensure that the process is fair and unbiased, and that all parties involved are treated with respect and professionalism. Our team can also assist with preparing the necessary documentation, conducting investigations, and providing guidance on the appropriate disciplinary actions to take.

Our team have decades of combined experience in all things HR and can structure a procedure that makes sense for your business. If you need help with a disciplinary process, feel free to get in touch with our HR Consultants.

Contact Us

Overall, the role of a trade union representative in a disciplinary investigation is to ensure that the employee is treated fairly and that their rights are protected. If you would like more information on the role of trade union representative at disciplinary hearing, contact us.

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