Taking disciplinary action (with or without a dismissal) against employees is an area of employment a lot of employers find difficult. They are aware that sometimes misconduct or performance related concerns need to be dealt with. Where this arises you, as an employer, need to follow a procedure, based on the ACAS Code.
In reality most employers tell us that the ACAS Code reflects what many would consider fair and reasonable. For example, most (as an individual) would want to know what we were accused of and given a chance to respond: that is what the ACAS procedure is predominantly about. Unfortunately, sometimes it can get complicated, particularly where there are grievances or sickness involved.
What do I need to have?
As an employer you need to have your own Disciplinary and Grievance Procedure in place. You are legally obliged to provide your employees with details of this within two months of them starting their employment with you. If you do not, and they later bring other claims, the employee will be entitled to additional compensation.
What if I do not want to follow the procedure?
If you do not follow the ACAS Code:
- the dismissal is more likely to be considered unfair
- an uplift of 25% can be applied to any compensation!
However, sometimes one or both parties, decide it might be better to reach a mutual agreement to exit the business. We can advise on how to approach or react to those conversations and put into place a Settlement Agreement to protect the business.
What do I need to do?
To summarise the ACAS Code, you need to:
- investigate the issues
- deal with it all in a timely manner
- inform the employee of the issues, in writing
- hold a disciplinary meeting and give them a chance to respond
- inform the employee of the decision in writing
- hear any appeal the employee raises
- ensure that the employee was given an opportunity to be accompanied throughout
There are other important steps, including setting KPI’s or targets for performance matters. We can guide you through this depending on what is happening. We also have External HR Specialists that can give you additional hands on support.
What next? How can we help you?
We can review, update or draft your Disciplinary Procedure and Rules to ensure your business is protected and managers know what is required of them.
We can also provide legal advice from an employment solicitor and HR support, throughout the process. This often includes drafting the necessary compliance letters. If you need an additional resource of an experienced person to investigate, chair the meeting, support the Chair or take Minutes, we can provide that resources from our specialists from Guildford, Godalming, London & Farnham.
We have a wealth of knowledge and experience available to save you time and offer you support when you get in touch.
To provide some useful information, whilst online, we have employment law checklists available. You can also sign up for regular updates.
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If you are an employee and are worried about being dismissed or having to attend a disciplinary hearing, please see here.