Providing employees with the opportunity to appeal against a disciplinary decision is an important part of a fair disciplinary procedure.
While there is no statutory right to appeal a disciplinary penalty, it is included in the Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures and so should be applied where any formal disciplinary action is taken.
We take a look at eight things you need to consider when handling disciplinary appeals:
1. If the employer does not follow an appeals procedure that forms part of the contract of employment, it will be a breach of contract.
What are the pros and cons of making a disciplinary procedure contractual?
2. The right of appeal needs to be applied consistently in disciplinary cases so as to avoid discrimination claims.
Why is it important for employers to have clear disciplinary rules and procedures?
3. Tribunals take into account the Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures - which includes recommendations about appeals against disciplinary penalties - when considering relevant cases.
What are the possible consequences of failing to follow the Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures?
Is there a specific timescale for holding a disciplinary appeal hearing?
Is there a set timescale for the lodging of appeals against disciplinary decisions?
4. Employers should aim to have the appeal heard by a manager who is more senior than the one who dealt with the original disciplinary hearing.
Who should conduct a disciplinary appeal hearing?
5. Workers have the right to be accompanied at a disciplinary appeal hearing.
Who can be chosen as a companion at a disciplinary or grievance hearing?
What is a "reasonable" request by a worker to be accompanied at a disciplinary or grievance hearing?
6. If the employee fails to attend the appeal hearing, the employer should investigate the reasons for this and rearrange where appropriate.
What should an employer do if an employee fails to attend a disciplinary hearing?
Can an employer invite an employee to attend a disciplinary hearing when he or she is on sick leave?
7. The general rules of fairness and natural justice should be applied to the appeal hearing.
Can a disciplinary sanction be increased as a result of an appeal hearing?
8. The employer should consider a number of options if it upholds the appeal.
What options does an employer have where it upholds an appeal?
What happens to an employee's continuity of service if he or she is dismissed but reinstated on appeal?
This checklist is based on XpertHR's guide to handling appeals against disciplinary decisions. If you are an XpertHR subscriber, you can view the full guide here.