Disciplinary action – points for employees

If an employer has concerns surrounding an employees’ work or behaviour, they may initiate the disciplinary process to formally raise their concerns. Employers should try and resolve the issue informally first with the formal disciplinary process as a last resort. You should therefore be aware of any concerns before you receive a formal notice to attend a disciplinary meeting.

When opting to take disciplinary action, employers are required to follow the requirements of the ACAS Code of Practice, as well as their own procedures if they have a disciplinary policy in place. They should also act fairly and reasonably, treating employees consistently.

What steps are involved disciplinary action?

There are a number of stages to a formal disciplinary process, which should include:

  1. Investigation – before deciding to take formal action, it will generally be appropriate for the employer to fully investigate the issues. Where they decide to take formal action, the employer should prepare a letter or e-mail setting out the reasons for initiating the disciplinary process and inviting the employee to a hearing.
  2. Hearing – the issues should be reviewed, the employee’s responses fully considered and formal decision made where possible (or further meeting scheduled where necessary).
  3. Outcome Letter – warnings, performance improvement plans, dismissals are all possible outcomes that should be confirmed in writing.
  4. Appeal – the final letter should confirm the employee’s right to appeal against the decision made.

What are my rights?

The procedure followed must be fair and reasonable, following the ACAS Code and other employment.

There are specific rights for an employee to be accompanied by a colleague or a trade union representative to any formal disciplinary hearing (the employer must be notified) and to appeal against the outcome of the process.

How can our employment team help?

Receiving an invite to a disciplinary hearing can be daunting and we can help you review the allegations made and prepare for the disciplinary hearing.

We can also review the process followed and consider whether it has been fair and reasonable or whether there are grounds for complaint.

Additionally, we can also help at the appeal stage if you want to challenge the decision made.

These notes are for general comment only, so please do contact our team for specific advice on your situation on 01635 508084/508080, visiting our employment page for employees or contacting [email protected].

Our Employment Law Team

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