If you are facing the difficult situation of being taken through a disciplinary process by your employer, Taylor&Emmet will be able to help. In some cases, the Courts have allowed employees the right to have a solicitor present at an internal disciplinary hearing.
Right to representation
At the moment, an employee only has the right to be accompanied to disciplinary hearings by a trade union representative or work colleague. However, the High Court has ruled that it may be a breach of your human rights not to be allowed legal representation if the outcome of the disciplinary hearing may deprive you of the right to practise your profession in the future.
You should also check your contract of employment to see if you are entitled to legal representation at your hearing. Such clauses may apply if you work, for example, as a doctor or a teacher.
Your companion to a disciplinary hearing (legally qualified or otherwise) has the right to raise points about witness evidence and ask questions on your behalf. They do not have the right to answer questions for you, but can aid you to present your version of events in a clear, concise and accurate manner.
If you are a disabled employee for the purpose of the Equality Act 2010 (i.e. you have a mental or physical impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on your ability to carry out normal day to day activities), it could be a reasonable adjustment for you to be allowed the right to be accompanied to your disciplinary hearing by a solicitor, if the presence of a solicitor would help you to overcome a substantial disadvantage caused by your disability.
Increasingly, employers and employees wish to be able to make audio recordings of internal disciplinary or grievance meetings. This should be done with your employer’s knowledge, as it can be difficult to justify why you have covertly recorded your employer at a later stage.
If you wish for any internal meeting to be recorded, you should ask for your employer's permission to do this. If you are disabled for the purposes of the Equality Act, certain conditions could mean that you may have the right to request to record meetings as a reasonable adjustment to counteract the disadvantage you suffer from your disability (for example, if you have a condition which prevents you from being able to write, or which leads to short term memory loss). If your employer fails to allow this without good reason, you could have a claim for Disability Discrimination.
If you would like one of the Employment Law specialists at Taylor & Emmet to attend a disciplinary hearing with you, please get in touch.