Your Questions Answered

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Q: Some of our employees who have been asked to provide a witness statement during a disciplinary procedure wish to remain anonymous. Can we agree to this? A:Yes, witness statements can be obtained from employees who wish to remain anonymous. However, employers should make it clear to them, that should the case end up in a tribunal, they may be required to attend the tribunal and give evidence as part of the proceedings. However, anonymous witness statements could cause problems as it could undermine the employee’s right to challenge the evidence. It is imperative that a fair disciplinary procedure is carried out which will include obtaining reliable evidence that can be corroborated. Employers should therefore seek to corroborate any evidence from anonymous witnesses with evidence from other reliable sources. If the employee wishes to challenge the evidence of an anonymous witness, then they can be asked to put their questions in writing for a response to be obtained. The employer should make the witness aware that his or her anonymity cannot be guaranteed. If the matter results in legal proceedings, he or she may be subject to a witness order requiring his or her attendance at the tribunal to provide evidence in the proceedings.

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