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Stress risk assessment: can I take a representative

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by arnoutandliz, Jun 16, 2017.


Can I take a representative to a stress risk assessment?

  1. Yes

    9 vote(s)
  2. No

    0 vote(s)
  1. What it says in the title really. I have a stress risk assessment, but haven't been given any information other than date and time. Am I allowed to take a representative with me?
  2. MacGuyver

    MacGuyver Occasional commenter

    I can't see why you wouldn't. Surely it makes more sense to ask your union this question.
  3. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Who is the risk assessment being done by? It's the person doing the assessment you need to ask.

    If it's an occupational health assessment it's like a medical assessment. Would you take your union rep with you to a GP appointment? If not then it seems unlikely you'd take a union rep with you to occupational health either.
  4. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I don't think you are entitled to, but if you want, you can ask the school. I can't see why you would want to, unless... If it became a disciplinary issue, that would make a big difference, and you would be entitled to take a rep. Have you any reason for thinking this is a possibility?
  5. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    If the SLT who invited you to this is likely to browbeat you into doing whatever is on his agenda then a rep would be helpful. Of course, this could well be met with resistance as it will mean logistical issues over covering the Rep or bringing in one from outside.

    If the SLT is fine with a rep then it probably means he's nice so the rep would be superfluous (I've been in this position for variations on return to work interviews)

    The invitation to the meeting should be more formal than that and specifically state the friend/rep option though.
  6. winns

    winns New commenter

    You can absolutely take a rep in with you. You could even take a rep to the doctors with you if you wanted!

    I work one day a week for the TUC so deal with things like this all the time. They can't refuse you representation, if your chosen rep can't make it then they must adjourn the meeting until they can- it must be a 'reasonable' amount of time though e.g 10 working days
    TCSC47 likes this.
  7. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Which legislation covers this please @winns ? The only statutory right to union representation that I've found is at disciplinary and grievance hearings. I'd be interested to find out the law that gives that right for stress assessments and similar.

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
    Piranha likes this.
  8. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    @winns ?
  9. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    I can not point you to any legislation on the matter, but it is my opinion (and that is of course all that I can give) that you can most certainly take a friend to any meeting with anybody, medical or school. I did come across something that said you couldn't take a legal representative to disciplinary meetings at work but I can not remember where for sure but it may have been in my contract.

    I don't know exactly what you mean by "stress risk assessment" but if you are worried that it may be some sort of disciplinary hearing under some sort of misleading title, then you should have had an invitation to the meeting saying that you could bring a friend. So if you attend the meeting and it seems to be turning into a disciplinary hearing then you need to withdraw and make a date to return with a friend. That is most certainly law.

    As I say, I don't understand what this meeting is about. If it is a genuine "stress assessment" then surely it will be with medical people such as your GP.

    Bottom line, talk to your union rep.
  10. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    Being retired I am a bit out of it, but I have been on both sides of the table with disciplinary meetings. But I've just been googling "stress risk assessment" and my first reaction is that it is meant to be for the benefit of the employee not as a management tool r some such. It is part of the responsibilities of your employer towards you.
    Quoted fro the web page above.
    Carrying out a stress risk assessment is a good way of tackling workplace stress before it becomes a more substantial issue. HSE’s Management Standards for work-related stress gives a good overview of things to consider, and on the Fit for Work advice hub, there is a detailed questionnaire and form that employers can use to carry out a thorough assessment of what may be causing stress in the workplace. This questionnaire identifies risks for employers – such as:

    • Are staff comfortable with the amount of work they have?
    • Have employees received appropriate training to ensure they can do their job properly?
    • Do employees feel comfortable in raising concerns with managers?
    • Do staff feel they are being offered adequate managerial support?
    The questionnaire then suggests ways to mitigate said risks, by:

    • Adjusting work patterns to cope with busy periods
    • Reviewing training needs
    • Taking time to understand the challenges your team members are facing
    • Encourage staff to share any concerns with you
    The benefits of tackling stress in the workplace are clear. The quality of working life for your employees will be better; their productivity and morale will increase; their attendance levels will go up and sickness absence will go down – all benefits which will have a direct impact on how smoothly your company runs. Visit the Fit for Work advice hub to download the stress risk assessment form or get more information on managing stress, or call the Fit for Work advice line on 0800 032 6235 to speak to a trained advisor.
  11. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    You are asking if you can take a friend and this worries me that you feel they are trying to use the assessment against you. If this is the case, then I think they are misusing the process. It is your employers duty to avoid work related stress, not yours. You are the one who is suffering from it. If you want to take a friend, simply insist on taking one. I see no reasons why they could refuse you. A friend would be helpful to fill in the forms anyway.

    See http://support.fitforwork.org/app/a..._medium=blog&utm_campaign=stressriskassesment
    for an example of the forms.
  12. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    Hey! Why not turn up to the meeting with the form already filled in! I bet that would surprise them.
  13. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    If you mean by "it is my opinion" that you think it should be the case, then that is fair. However, the earlier post stated it as a fact, which I believe to be untrue, although I am willing to be convinced if somebody can point to a law. There is a significant difference between asking for something which is a legal right and asking it as a favour, so it is important that we differentiate between what is law and what we think ought to be law. The same applies to claims made about teachers' working conditions which are not backed up by STPCD or the Burgundy Book.

    Here I agree with you. However, a risk assessment is usually seen as a positive thing for the employee - the employer is looking at the risks and working out how they can be avoided - so I don't think we can read anything bad into this. Yet!
    Rott Weiler likes this.
  14. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    There's no automatic right to take someone else into a meeting with your employer in all circumstances.

    There's several ways of answering OP's question "can I take a representative?"

    --- Does OP have a statutory right to be accompanied? Answer (as far as I am aware) is only for a disciplinary hearing at which a sanction could be applied (ie not an investigation meeting) or a grievance hearing. The right only allows you to be accompanied by a union representative or workplace colleague [s10 Employment Relations Act 1999]. Not by a 'friend' if they are from outside the workplace, and not by a lawyer. So OP has no statutory right to be accompanied. winns suggested this right also existed for stress risk assessments but has not come back to say where that right comes from.

    -- The school's own policies may give a right to be accompanied that's wider than statute law. This commonly happens. If OP's school policies allow OP to be accompanied at a stress risk assessment then OP has that right under their contract of employment. The right may again be limited to a union representative or workplace colleague.

    -- School polices may be silent, neither forbidding nor allowing OP to be accompanied. In that case OP should ask if they can be accompanied. The school may in practice be quite happy with that as long as it's by a union rep or workplace colleague.

    Although I don't think disability is an issue in this case, if an employee is disabled they may have rights to be accompanied under the Equality Act, eg as 'reasonable adjustments'.

    @arnoutandliz has there been any progress?
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2017
  15. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    Accepted what you say, RW.

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