Human Resources

Appendix 1

Companions at Formal Meetings

1  Right to be Accompanied

Employees have the right to be accompanied by a companion to formal performance management meetings where the resultant action could be:

  • a written warning being issued; this could be either first or final warning;
  • some other action or sanction;
  •  the confirmation of a warning or some other action, for example at an appeal meeting.

The chosen companion may be a work colleague or a trade union representative. External legal advisors are not permitted to be involved in internal College performance matters.

2  Conflict of Interest

Although the employee has the right to be accompanied by a companion at a formal performance management meeting, there may be situations where a conflict of interest arises.  For example, it would not normally be reasonable for employees to insist on being accompanied by a companion whose presence would prejudice the meeting or who might have a conflict of interest.

Advice and guidance from Human Resources should be sought where a conflict of interest is evident.

3  Role of the Companion

It is important that the role of the companion is clearly understood. Outlined below are examples of activity that will help this understanding.

3.1  The companion can:

  • address the meeting;
  • present and summarise the case on behalf of the employee;
  • respond to any views expressed;
  • confer with the employee during the meeting;
  •  request adjournments.

3.2  The companion cannot:

  • answer questions on the employee’s behalf;
  • address the meeting if the employee does not wish it;
  • prevent the representative of the College from explaining the case.

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The HR team is based on the first floor of Egmont House
Postal address: Human Resources, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX