Right to be accompanied case

Stevens v University of Birmingham [2015] EWHC 12300

  • Highly fact sensitive case
  • Mr S was suspended for potential serious misconduct
  • Wanted to be accompanied by Dr P, a representative from MPS at an investigatory meeting; therefore no statutory right; only the handbook/contract could be relevant
  • Potentially two alternative entities could discipline (he had a dual employment arrangement)
  • No contractual right to attend with Dr P but refusal was a breach of trust and confidence because:
    • No appropriate colleagues and Mr S was not a member of a TU (therefore effectively denied a companion)
    • The investigating officer had a technical advisor & it was reasonable for Mr S to have one (otherwise inequality of arms)
    • Mr S potentially subject to two disciplinary processes – under one he could have been accompanied by Dr P (but not this one)
    • Investigations could lead to career ending disciplinary proceedings

S.10 ERA 1999

  • Trade Union official or colleague for disciplinary or grievances
  • Disciplinary is defined to include warning, dismissal or other sanction
  • Includes capability but not redundancy procedures
  • “reasonably requests”
  • ACAS Code and guidance

See also

  • The Leeds Dental Team Ltd v Rose UKEAT/0016/13
  • Kulkarni v Milton Keynes Hospital Foundation NHS Trust [2009] IRLR 829 (CA)
  • Yorkshire Housing Ltd v Cuerden UKEAT/0397/09
  • Article 6 of the ECHR