Table of Contents
What is a disciplinary meeting?
Take a look at our guide to disciplinary meetings, where we’ll go through frequently asked questions. We’ll also discuss what happens during a disciplinary meeting, as well as who you can bring with you.
A disciplinary meeting is a meeting during which:
• The allegations should be explained, as well as the evidence gathered during the investigation.
• The complainant should be given an opportunity to present their case and refute the claims.
• The employee should be permitted to ask questions, produce documentation, summon pertinent witnesses, and present concerns regarding the testimonies provided by them.
Before deciding whether to dismiss or punish an employee, an employer should hold a disciplinary meeting with him or her under the ACAS Code.
What is the ACAS code of practice?
The ACAS Code of Practice on Discipline and Grievance (“the ACAS Code”) is a statutory code that provides basic practical advice to employers, employees, and their representatives.
This document sets out the basic principles for dealing with workplace disciplinary and complaint issues.
The ACAS Code empowers businesses and employees to resolve concerns regarding alleged misconduct or poor performance in a constructive and fair manner.
An employment tribunal will look at whether the employer has followed a proper disciplinary procedure when determining if an employee was unjustly dismissed for misconduct or poor performance.
It’s also worth noting that this can have an impact on the amount of money a claimant receives in a successful unfair dismissal lawsuit.
If an employer does not follow the ACAS Code, any compensation paid may be increased by up to 25% and if an employee does not comply, compensation can be reduced by up to 25%.
What disciplinary action is covered by the ACAS Code?
The ACAS Code is a code of conduct that applies to cases of misconduct and/or poor performance.
It does not apply to redundancy, layoffs, or the non-renewal of fixed-term contracts at the end of their term.
How should a disciplinary process be handled?
If you are having a disciplinary meeting, there are several things that your employer must do in order to conduct a just process. The following are some of them:
1. Investigation – In order to establish the facts of your case, your employer should first do a thorough inquiry. The investigation is a golden opportunity for your employer to collect evidence that it may use at the hearing.
Before deciding whether a disciplinary hearing is absolutely necessary, the committee may want to hold an evaluation meeting with you and any relevant parties.
Depending on the gravity of the accusations against you, you may be temporarily or permanently suspended with full pay while an investigation is conducted.
2 Written notification of a disciplinary meeting – Your employer should give you written notice of the claimed misconduct or poor performance, as well as its possible consequences (including, when appropriate, the risk of termination).
There should be enough information to allow you to prepare your case and respond at the hearing, provided that it is not simply a summary. With your oral notification, you will usually receive a copy of each witness statement or other written evidence.
3. Companion – You should be informed of your right to be accompanied to the meeting. The following is discussed in greater depth.
4. Time and venue – Your employer should inform you about the meeting’s time and place.
While the meeting should go forward without delay, your employer must allow you enough time to prepare your case. It should be done in a private location where you won’t be disturbed.
5. Written Decision – If your employer does not respond within a reasonable amount of time, you should follow up by sending an email or writing the company.
The decision should state the disciplinary penalty you will receive, such as a verbal, written, or final warning, demotion, or dismissal.
6. Right of Appeal – Your employer should provide you with the opportunity to appeal the decision. If you disagree with the disciplinary measure taken against you, submit your appeal in writing, including the reasons for it.
What happens at a disciplinary meeting?
At your disciplinary meeting, your employer should tell you about the allegations against you and the evidence they have.
You should be given the opportunity to express your viewpoint, respond to any inquiries made, and ask any questions you may have.
You have the legal right to be accompanied at your disciplinary hearing if the meeting’s potential outcomes include you being disciplined or receiving a formal warning.
Someone to accompany you to a moral support or to help you with presenting your case may be useful for many people.
The disciplinary panel should not be allowed to take decisions on your behalf, and it’s vital for you to be able to exercise your right at the meeting.
However, your companion does not have the legal right to respond on your behalf or prevent the employer from making their case clear.
It’s also a good idea to make a set of notes following the meeting since you could need to refer back to what was said.
Who can I take with me to my disciplinary meeting?
You should be aware that you have the option of bringing a companion. This can be:
- A work colleague
- A trade union rep
- An official employed by a trade union
- In certain circumstances, your employer may allow you to be accompanied by a buddy or family member but are not required to do so unless it is a reasonable adjustment.
If your employer has a disciplinary procedure, you should review it to ensure that they are following it correctly. If your employer does not have its own set of rules, they should be following the ACAS Code of Practice.
It’s critical to your case that your employer follows the correct disciplinary procedure and the ACAS Code, as failure to do so might result in your firing being considered unfair. If you were treated worse than others who are doing the same kind of work, this might indicate a claim for unlawful dismissal.
There are strict time limits for bringing a complaint of unfair dismissal.
If you are fired and believe your dismissal is unjust, seek legal counsel as soon as possible to see whether you have a case and avoid missing the deadline.
If you do not act quickly, your damage claim may be too late.
For more information, call us on freephone 0141 319 5639 or contact us online.