As an employee, you may be asked to attend a disciplinary hearing (or similar, such as if there are performance concerns). This can be a difficult time for you and you may not know what your rights are. If you would like to know more or need some reassurance, we can help. If you have been suspended, then please contact us for employment advice from a solicitor.
Where disciplinary hearings are being arranged for you to attend, employers need to follow a reasonable procedure. This is usually based on the ACAS procedure (known as the ACAS Code http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/f/m/Acas-Code-of-Practice-1-on-disciplinary-and-grievance-procedures.pdf. Your employer should also take into account the ACAS Guidance http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/b/l/Discipline-and-grievances-Acas-guide.pdf
You should have been provided with a copy of, or access to, a Disciplinary Procedure within two months of you joining your employer. You can request this if you don’t have access to it.
What Does My Employer Have To Do?
Initially there may be an informal verbal discussion. If it progresses then usually it follows a range of sanctions from verbal warnings, to first written warnings, then final written warnings and ultimately dismissal (with or without notice). If the situation is serious enough the process can miss a sanction level. However, at each stage they ought to:
- investigate the issues (you may be suspended with pay during this period depending on the situation)
- deal with it all in a timely manner
- inform you of their concerns, in writing
- hold a disciplinary meeting and given you a chance to respond
- write to you with their decision
- where possible, put in place an independent and more senior person to listen to your appeal
- give you the opportunity to be accompanied throughout
If your employer fails to follow this procedure, and ultimately you are dismissed, then your compensation can be increased by up to 25%. However, if you don’t engage and, for example, don’t appeal then your compensation can be reduced by up to 25%.
What Next? How We Can Help You?
If you feel your suspension is unfair or too long, your employer is not following a fair procedure, the outcome has been predetermined, or you feel you have been dismissed unfairly then we can give you legal and practical employment law advice on how to manage the situation and what to do next. We can also help you with how to best present your case or appeal.
It may be that a certain stage is reached, at which point we can work together to negotiate an exit package for you. If you do leave the business, then it might be that you are asked to sign a Settlement Agreement (previously known as a Compromise Agreement) which we can guide you through and ensure it is fair. Please get in touch and we can assist you with whatever your current situation is. We have offices locally in Godalming & work with clients around Surrey, including Guildford & Woking.
Need help as an employer to run a disciplinary procedure? Please see here.
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