Legal Article - Employment Law

Disciplinary Procedures

In addition to the above guidance, it is important that the advice given in the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Services (ACAS) Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance procedures. Codes of Practice are taken into account by employment tribunals when the Codes provisions are relevant to any question arising in the proceedings. In particular, the Code states that Disciplinary Procedures should:

a) Be in writing
b) Specify to whom they apply

c) Provide for matters to be dealt with quickly

d) Indicate the disciplinary actions, which may be taken

e) Specify the levels of management, which have the authority to take the various forms of disciplinary action, ensuring that immediate superiors do not normally have the power to dismiss without reference to senior management

f) Provide for individuals to be informed of the complaints against them and to be given an opportunity to state their case before decisions are reached

g) Give individuals the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or by a fellow employee of their choice

h) Ensure that, except for gross misconduct, no employees are dismissed for a first breach of discipline

i) Ensure that disciplinary action is not taken until the case has been carefully
investigated

j) Ensure that individuals are given an explanation for any penalty imposed

k) Provide a right of appeal and specify the procedure to be followed.

It is important that companies have Rules. As a minimum these should:

be simple, clear and in writing

be displayed prominently in the workplace

be known and fully understood by all employees

Cover issues such as absence, timekeeping, health and safety and use of company facilities (add others relevant to your organisation)

indicate the type of conduct which will normally lead to disciplinary action other than dismissal

Examples may include persistent lateness or unauthorised absence

indicate the type of conduct which will normally lead to dismissal without notice examples may indicate working dangerously, stealing or fighting although much will depend on the circumstances of each offence.

ACAS have produced model Disciplinary Procedures and examples of letters to write covering:

Notice of disciplinary interview
Notice of written warning or final written warning
Confirmation of dismissal (following previous warnings)
Confirmation of dismissals (without previous warnings)
Notice of result of appeal hearing.

 

Published: 03 Jun 2011

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