The courts have stated that simply saying 'No!' to an employee's request for legal representation, in a disciplinary hearing, can amount to the entire process being unfair.
At the very least, it has been stated that the chairperson has to consider a request for legal representation.
But does that mean that you can't refuse it?
Here are six situations over which you probably could refuse legal representation for an employee during a disciplinary hearing:
1. The charges against the employee are simple and easy to understand.
2. You can prove these charges by leading straightforward evidence through what your witnesses have to say and through documents,
3. During the course of the hearing, it won't be necessary to deal with legal issues.
Everything you need to know about substantively and procedurally fair disciplinary hearings
So… Your employee's guilty of misconduct. Let's say he took a company laptop home, without asking permission. It's a simple open and closed case of theft, isn't it?
Not so fast! You can't just say 'that's it, you're out of here' and think that's the end of that. No, you still have to hold a disciplinary hearing. You still have to give him a chance to defend his case, and explain why he did that.
You also have to prove that he did this. You have to spell it out for him and notify him you're going to discipline him. And you have to give him time to prepare his case.
And then there's even more to it… You have to have a disciplinary hearing so you can prove your case, and give him a chance to defend his… And this is where most employers fail.
4. The charges are not that serious and will only amount in a written warning if the employee is found guilty.
5. If the employee will suffer be at no disadvantage if he isn't legally represented. This could be because of the fact that your managers dealing with the case are not legally trained themselves.
6. The employee being disciplined is the only person who will be impacted from the hearing.
There were six situations over which you probably could refuse legal representation for an employee during a disciplinary hearing.
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