Representation at Hearings

Introduction

As a member of the Nationwide Group Staff Union you have the right to be represented at a formal disciplinary or grievance hearing by a NGSU officer.

We hope that you’ll never find yourself in a disciplinary situation but every year many Nationwide employees do – so it’s important that you know how to access our help just in case you need it.

If you are required to attend a formal hearing it is important that you contact us immediately to arrange representation. Please call us on 01295 710767.

If you’ve paid three month’s subscriptions (or one month’s subscription if joining in your probationary period) you’ll be entitled to full representation rights – including legal support if necessary. If you’ve just joined we can still give you advice and talk you through the process – so it’s still important that you call us for help.

The Right to be Represented

Your right to be represented at a formal Nationwide hearing is set out in the Fair Treatment At Work (FTAW) policy, which the Union has agreed with the Society.

You also have a statutory right to be accompanied at a hearing by a certified trade union official or a colleague (Employment Act 2002).

The Benefits of Representation

We will support you before, during and after the hearing. We will explain the process to you and tell you what to expect and how to prepare in the most effective way.

We have a detailed knowledge of the FTAW procedures and can ensure that the hearing is run properly and that you are being treated fairly.

We can speak on your behalf and help to make sure that you’ve covered all the important issues. We can also ask questions and challenge the manager and Human Resources (HR) representative to ensure that they have considered everything fairly.

We have a good knowledge of Nationwide’s other procedures and understanding of employment law. This can be useful in making sure that the person chairing the hearing has all the information they need to make a fair decision.

We cannot guarantee what the outcome of the hearing will be but we can make sure that any decision takes all the relevant circumstances into account.

After the hearing we can advise you of any further action you may need to take, for example, how to make an appeal.

In some circumstances we may consult with the Union’s solicitors if we feel that a legal view would be beneficial to your case.

Finally, we will provide moral support throughout the process. Sometimes it can be helpful to chat to someone in confidence and talk things through. Everything you tell us will be in confidence.

Who will represent me?

The Union has a designated team of Individual Cases Officers (ICOs) and Disciplinary Officers (DOs) who are trained to represent union members at hearings.

Our ICOs and DOs are based across the country and we will allocate the person who is best able to meet your needs.

When should I have representation?

We recommend that you have representation at all formal hearings. We’ve listed all the types of hearing that we can represent you at below.

What should I do if I’m called to a hearing?

Nationwide will give you written notice of the requirement to attend a hearing – at least 48 hours in advance of the hearing. You should call us on 01295 710767 immediately so that we can arrange for an ICO or DO to represent you.

Representation is free for all qualifying NGSU members.

The right to postpone a hearing.

Occasionally we may not have an officer available on the date of your hearing. In these circumstances you have the statutory right to postpone the date of the hearing and to propose an alternative time (Employment Relations Act 1999 – Section 10(4)). The alternative time must be reasonable and fall within the five working days of the date proposed by Nationwide.

It can be tempting to agree to go ahead with the hearing without representation – just to get it over with or because you are told that the outcome will be the same regardless of whether you have representation or not. However, we strongly recommend that you exercise your right to postpone the hearing so that we can arrange for an officer to represent you.

You will need to put your request to postpone a hearing in writing. Click here for more information and a template letter.

What’s Nationwide’s view of Representation?

Nationwide supports NGSU’s involvement at hearings. This is why the right to be represented forms part of the Fair Treatment at Work policy. Nationwide wants to be sure that hearings result in fair decisions and so values our contribution.

Being represented at a hearing will not be viewed negatively nor have any adverse impact on the decision.

Why is Representation so important?

The expertise and experience of a Union officer helps to ensure that there is a robust examination of all the facts – including information from our member that may not have been included in the evidence provided prior to the formal hearing.

This means that the outcome is more likely to be fair and to fall within the range of responses that have been given in other cases. This is in the interest of both the individual and Nationwide.

Fair Treatment at Work Procedures

NGSU can represent you at the following types of meeting:

Probation hearings: We recommend that you have representation even if you’ve been told that the outcome will be to extend your probation.

Disciplinary hearings: In relation to all matters relating to your conduct at work.

Improving Performance hearings: In relation to all matters about your performance at work

Grievance meetings: Where you wish to make a complaint about something or someone at work.

In addition NGSU can also give you advice and, where appropriate, support you at the following types of meetings:

Absence Management meetings: To discuss matters relating to long-term illness.

Harassment meetings: Fact finding meetings as part of an HR investigation.

Performance Rating Appeals: When you disagree with your performance rating.

SID interviews: Fact finding meetings as part of a SID investigation.