The Disciplinary Process

Our highly knowledgeable and experienced People Services solicitors deal with a wide range of disciplinary matters and will be on hand at each step of the process to guide you and provide pragmatic advice.

What Is a Disciplinary?

If you have concerns over an employee’s conduct or absence, it may be time to consider disciplinary action. The intention of the disciplinary process is to encourage the employee to perform in a manner which is acceptable to the employer and is not necessarily to admonish the employee.

A disciplinary procedure should be set out in the employees’ contract of employment and is frequently repeated in the company handbook. It is a set way for an employer to deal with disciplinary issues. It will include a disciplinary hearing where employees are given a chance to explain their version of events in any given situation. The employee should be allowed a full and fair opportunity to state their side of events, explain their conduct, and state any mitigating factors.

However, the disciplinary meeting is only one part of the whole disciplinary process. Acas have produced a code of practice in relation to how disciplinary procedures should be conducted. Employees should use this as the minimum standard to be followed when carrying out the process.

The aims of the code are to clarify expectations of conduct within the workforce, be it horseplay or the discipline of a member of staff, to correct unacceptable behaviour, and adopt a progressive approach in the workplace. In the event the employees are dismissed and bring a claim for unfair dismissal, the Employment Tribunal is obliged to consider whether an employer has followed the Acas code at any hearing before it. Therefore, our advice is always tailored to the particular circumstances of every situation with a view to avoiding the Tribunal process.

How Does the Disciplinary Process Work?

  1. The employer writes to the employee explaining the nature of the alleged misconduct and the consequences if the misconduct is proven.
  2. At the hearing, evidence of the complaint is heard. The employee is given the opportunity to have their say.
  3. Following the meeting the employer elects the applicable sanction in accordance with its policy.
  4. The outcome is provided in writing
  5. The employee may appeal the decision if they consider it is wrong
  6. The employer will arrange an appeal hearing.

Notes should be taken at the meeting so that there is a full written record of the meeting.

How Can We Help?

We provide advice on

  • How to chair a disciplinary hearing
  • Who is a suitable companion to accompany an employee at a disciplinary hearing
  • Practical guidance on issues that may arise in the hearing such as recording the meeting and the correct protocols

Our highly knowledgeable and experienced People Services solicitors deal with a wide range of disciplinary and grievance matters. We have extensive experience in advising in this area of law and will be on hand at each step of the process to guide you and provide pragmatic advice with a view to minimise the risk of Employment Tribunal claims and preserve the relationship with your employees.


People Services Testimonials

The team were both professional and friendly, at the same time as being super-efficient and on the ball from the outset. I instantly felt confident in that I had selected the right team to support me at what was an extremely stressful and emotional time for me. The speed at which the team responded to my initial query, to the first phone consultation and their ongoing support throughout my case, gave me absolute faith that I would get the support I needed and when I needed it.
Legal 500, 2022