Are you being called to attend a Disciplinary Hearing at work?
Most employers will go through a disciplinary procedure with you before deciding whether to impose any disciplinary sanction such as a warning, performance improvement note or dismissal.
The ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures sets out the basics of the process which should be followed by an employer.
However, some employers may not follow a procedure if they think that the risks of any claim are low, for example, if you do not have 2 years’ continuous employment which would give you ordinary dismissal rights. Even if you do have unfair dismissal rights, your employer may still deal unfairly with you. We are able to advise you about any claims which may result from your unfair treatment.
There should be an investigation of the allegations against you and a collation of the evidence by your employer. This may involve meetings with witnesses and you. You may also be suspended while the investigation takes place.
You should receive a written invitation to a disciplinary hearing which sets out:-
- the allegations against you
- the right to be accompanied at the disciplinary hearing by a work colleague or a trade union representative and
- evidence of the allegations.
At the disciplinary hearing, you should be allowed to state your case and set out mitigating factors in your defence. You should then be given the outcome of the hearing and given the opportunity to appeal any disciplinary sanction imposed on you.
Risk of Dismissal
If you are faced with an allegation of gross misconduct or you are already on a final written warning, it may be preferable to seek advice prior to the disciplinary hearing as there will be a risk of dismissal.
As part of our advice, we would explore with you the strengths and weaknesses of your case so you are armed with this information before you attend a disciplinary hearing. We would also consider whether it was worth seeking a mutual termination of employment under a Settlement Agreement rather than face the risk of being dismissed.
Under a Settlement Agreement, your employment would normally end and you would settle your employment claims in return for a financial sum and other terms.
It would be usual for both parties to agree confidentiality of the agreement and the surrounding circumstances; that neither party would make derogatory comments about the other; and the terms of a reference for you would be agreed. You would also be required to take independent legal advice on the Agreement.
If you would like to discuss disciplinary matters with us, please do not hesitate to contact our Employment Solicitor, Julia Woodhouse on 01564 776287 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The above is not intended to provide advice.