GMB members will receive representation in their place of work. Since September 2000, workers have a right to be accompanied at disciplinary hearings and appeals, even if the employer does not recognise the GMB union.
- This is available to all workers, including agency and home workers, regardless of the number working for their employer.
- The companion can either be a GMB representative, experienced and trained by the GMB or another employee from the work force.
- The right applies to any disciplinary hearing, which could result in a formal warning or the employer taking some other action (e.g. dismissal, suspension). The right also applies to appeal hearings.
- The request to be accompanied must be ‘reasonable’, so GMB members are urged not to leave it to the last minute. We suggest it is best, but not obligatory, to put it in writing.
- Your GMB representative can address the hearing, question management and witnesses. However, they cannot answer questions on behalf on the GMB member. The GMB representative can confer with the GMB member during the hearing.
- If a companion is not available, the GMB member can ask for a hearing to be postponed. Their alternative slot must fall within five working days (excluding Saturday, Sunday or Bank holidays); so a hearing set for a Monday can be postponed up to, but not beyond the following Monday.
- A GMB representative is allowed reasonable time off, including conferring with a GMB member before and after the hearing.
- If an employer refuses to allow a worker to be accompanied or to postpone a hearing, the GMB member can complain to an Employment Tribunal; which can award up to two weeks’ pay. A dismissal in these circumstances may well be unfair.
- GMB members and representatives are protected from dismissal or action short of dismissal for exercising or trying to exercise the right to representation.