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Acas code revised

It may not strike you as momentous, but a change to the Acas Code could well change the way you handle workers’ requests to be accompanied at disciplinary and grievance hearings.

It’s in response to Toal v GB Oils in which the Employment Appeal Tribunal held that, in relation to disciplinaries and grievances, where a worker “reasonably requests to be accompanied at the hearing”, there is now no reasonableness requirement relating to the identity of their companion. In other words, a worker doesn’t need to be reasonable in choosing the person they’d like to attend the meeting with them – they can choose someone who will shout, stamp and scream, or who the employer might not want to attend for some other reason.

The Toal case found that workers have the right to be accompanied by any companion from one of the categories in section 10 of the Employment Relations Act 1999 (trade union officials, certified union reps and fellow workers). That, it seems, is now the only requirement.

Compensation on the rise

Guaranteed to leave you pondering the whereabouts of the last 12 months, the annual compensation limit increases have arrived.

The changes you really need to know about are:

  • maximum week’s pay for redundancy payments – £475
  • maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal – £78,335

These figures will apply to dismissals from 6 April 2015.