Representation at Hearings
As a member of Advance you have the right to be represented at a formal disciplinary, or grievance hearing by an Advance Consultant.
We hope that you will never find yourself in a disciplinary situation, but every year many Santander/Geoban employees do – Therefore it is 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 01442 891122
If you have paid three month’s subscriptions (or one month’s payment for those in probation) you’ll be entitled to full representation rights. If you have just joined, we can give you advice and talk you through the process – so it’s still important that you call us for help once you have made your first payment.
The Right to be represented
Your right to be represented at a formal Santander/Geoban hearing is set out in the policies, which the Union has agreed with Santander/Geoban.
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 companies’ 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 have covered all the important issues. We can also ask questions and challenge the investigating manager and Chair, to ensure that they have considered everything fairly.
We have a good knowledge of Santander/Geoban procedures and an 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 will be aware of any precedents and principles, set by the business and can ensure the Chair is informed of these, before making a 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 appeal.
In a few and exceptional circumstances, and at the absolute discretion of the General Secretary, 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 confidential.
Who will represent me?
The Union has a designated team of Consultants, who are trained to represent union members at hearings.
Our consultants work full time for the General Secretary and are based across the country. We will allocate the person best able to help you based on experience and geography. Our helpline team will assist with arrangements.
When should I have representation?
We recommend that you have representation at all formal hearings. We have listed all the types of hearing below.
What should I do if I’m called to a hearing?
Santander/Geoban will give you written notice of the requirement to attend a hearing – at least 7 days in advance of the hearing. You should call us on 01442 891122 immediately so that we can arrange for a consultant to represent you.
Representation is free for all qualifying Advance members.
The right to postpone a hearing.
Occasionally we may not have a consultant available on the date of your hearing. In such 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, but we will work with the business to arrange your representation.
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, to enable a consultant to represent you.
If you have a problem with postposing the hearing or if your manager insists on going ahead, please contact us on 01442 891122 and we will ensure we take steps to address this and get you the representation you are legally entitled to.
What’s Santander and Geoban’s view of Representation?
Santander and Geoban supports Advances involvement at hearings. This is why the right to be represented forms part of company policy. Santander and Geoban both want 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 the company.
Policies under which you can have formal representation
Advance can represent you at the following types of meeting:
Probation hearings: We recommend that you have representation even if you have been told that the outcome will be to extend your probation.
Disciplinary hearings: In relation to all matters relating to your conduct at work.
Formal Performance hearings: In relation to all matters about your performance at work
Attendance hearings: For matters relating to sporadic absence
Grievance meetings: Where you wish to make a complaint about something, or someone at work.
There are other processes where we have the right to formally represent you - for example Job Security Appeals, Final stage Performance Rating appeals, please check with us.
In addition Advance can also give you advice and where appropriate, support you at the following types of meetings:
Formal Absence Management meeting (Wellbeing Meeting): To discuss matters relating to long-term illness
SIU interviews: Fact finding meetings as part of a SIU investigation.
Fact Find Meetings: This is part of an investigation into a potential disciplinary allegation. Further information on what we can do to help, if you are invited to a fact find meeting is provided to our members by clicking here (you will need to be signed into our website)
We do not attend these meetings as a matter of course, but under certain circumstances, it may be appropriate. Please call our helpline. If you are invited to one of these meetings, to see how we can help.