Caven blog

Can you appeal a disciplinary decision?

Under UK employment law, an employer is required to set out their disciplinary rules that they expect their employees to follow, including standards of professional performance and conduct. An employer must also set out the consequences of failing to meet these standards, including the disciplinary processes that will be followed and the potential disciplinary actions (penalties) that could be taken. A further requirement under employment law is that the employer must provide avenues of appeal against disciplinary decisions.A disciplinary hearing is a private meeting in which an employee has the right to be accompanied. You can be accompanied by an employment law solicitor if you wish. The exact nature of the disciplinary issue should be explained and the supporting evidence and reasons for taking disciplinary action should be given. The employee should have the opportunity to state their case and to respond to any allegations made. After the meeting, the employer should write to the employer informing them of the decision and also notifying the employee of their right to appeal the decision. The letter should also outline the timeframe within which they must notify the employer of their intention to appeal (usually around ten working days).

If the employee does appeal, an appeal hearing will be held. The appeal hearing should be held without unnecessary delay but also with sufficient time for the employee to prepare their case and to consult any representatives, such as an employment solicitor. An appeal hearing operates in basically the same way as the initial disciplinary hearing but it also needs to consider the reasoning behind the appeal and any new evidence that has become available since the earlier decision. The employee may wish to get witnesses to attend the hearing. The employee has the right to be accompanied at the appeal hearing by a colleague, trade union official, or employment solicitor.

The employer should write to the employee with their decision and the reason for it as soon as possible after the hearing. If this is the final decision and the last avenue for redress, this should be clearly outlined.

After the appeals process has been exhausted an employee may then choose to make a claim at an employment tribunal. It is important that both the employee and employer receive legal advice from an employment solicitor at the commencement of disciplinary procedures and throughout.

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