When you are faced with a disciplinary at work it is always going to be a stressful experience. However, employment law has in place certain standards which have to be followed by both the employer and the employee during a disciplinary.
All parties involved have to follow the ACAS Code of Practice for Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures (Code of Practice). A link can be found to the Code of Practice on the right and we have outlined the main points of it on the factsheet entitled Code of Practice: Main Points.
All parties are subject to the rules of natural justice and these are expanded upon in the factsheet entitled the Concept of Natural Justice.
What you should do
It is always a good idea to prepare for a disciplinary hearing firstly by constructing your defence so that you can challenge whatever evidence the employer puts in front of you. It might also be useful to have an opening statement to present to your employer either a day before the hearing or at the beginning of the hearing. An example Opening Disciplinary Statement is available in the factsheets section for you to download if you need to. A factsheet outlining some of the leading cases around discipline at work gives some additional information around what the employer can and cannot do during a disciplinary at work.
Always appeal if you are not happy
After any disciplinary hearing the employee should be sent a letter informing them of the outcome of the hearing and any decision that has been made. The employee has the right to appeal and you should always appeal if you feel you were unfairly treated. We have an Appeal Letter example below for you to download if you need to.
Remember these very important main points:
- Your employer has to follow a disciplinary procedure.
- You have the right to have prior knowledge of the allegations against you. The allegations have to be specific and once made they cannot be changed or any new allegations cannot be added.
- You have to be given time to consider the allegations against you and any evidence the employer will use during the disciplinary hearing.
- Prepare your defence; challenge everything, present your own argument, get witness statements off people who agree with your side of the story, present whatever documents, letters or e-mails you have to support your case.
- You have the right to be accompanied to the meeting by a workplace colleague or trade union representative.
- Finally keep a record of everything: including a record of any conversations, telephone calls, e-mails, and letters, copies of any recording or transcripts, documents or anything else related to the disciplinary. Employment tribunal cases are won with evidence.
Of course if you have any questions or are unsure of anything please feel free to contact us via e-mail or telephone, we will be more than happy to help you.