Is an employee entitled to be accompanied at a meeting to discuss poor performance?

An employee will be entitled to be accompanied at a meeting to discuss poor performance only if the meeting could result in the employer taking formal disciplinary action against them (for example by issuing the employee with a formal warning, dismissing them, or invoking some other penalty). The statutory right to be accompanied (under s.10 of the Employment Relations Act 1999) to a disciplinary meeting does not apply to a performance review meeting that will not result in formal action, but employers may choose to allow this if the employee requests it. If the employee does have the statutory right to be accompanied, they are entitled to be accompanied by a fellow employee or trade union official.

Where there are special circumstances, for example the employee has a disability or is particularly stressed by the situation, the employer should consider allowing them to bring someone to the meeting, regardless of whether or not formal action may result and the statutory right applies. An employer that does not allow an employee to be accompanied may be found to have failed to make a reasonable adjustment under the disability discrimination provisions of the Equality Act 2010, should they come into play.