Disciplinary procedures: 10 common breaches of the Acas code of practice

Acas Code of Practice: Disciplinary and grievance procedures

In unfair dismissal claims, employment tribunals take the “Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures” into account where relevant and may increase an award of compensation by up to 25% for an employer’s unreasonable failure to follow it.

But where do employers commonly go wrong? We provide summaries of decisions on the code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures that include examples of common pitfalls.

1. Not warning the employee of the possible consequences of the disciplinary action.

Gurnett v ASOS.com Ltd (employment tribunal)

From the outset, the employer must tell the employee the possible outcome of the disciplinary action. In order to give them a fair chance of defending the allegation properly, it should not come as a surprise to the employee later on that dismissal is a possibility.

Read full case report of Gurnett v ASOS.com Ltd

2. Not setting out the nature of the accusations clearly to the employee.

O’Farrill v New Manage Ltd t/a Hooks Gym London Shootfighters (employment tribunal)

The employer should explain the alleged misconduct clearly and should, throughout the disciplinary process, be consistent in what it is accusing the employee of. New allegations that come to light during the investigatory stage can be added to the process, but any disciplinary sanction must be imposed only in respect of allegations that were properly investigated and brought to the employee’s attention as part of the proceedings.

Read full case report of O’Farrill v New Manage Ltd t/a Hooks Gym London Shootfighters

3. Not furnishing the employee with relevant evidence against them.

Archer and another v Solvent Resource Management Ltd (employment tribunal)

The employer should provide the employee with all the evidence, typically in the form of witness statements, in advance of the disciplinary hearing. Ideally, the evidence should be provided when the employee is invited to the hearing, or at least far enough in advance for them to be able to prepare a defence.

Read full case report of Archer and another v Solvent Resource Management Ltd

4. Not operating a system of warnings where appropriate.

O’Farrill v New Manage Ltd t/a Hooks Gym London Shootfighters (employment tribunal)

In some cases, the alleged misconduct will be so serious that summary dismissal for a first offence will be justified. However, in cases of minor misconduct, a series of warnings before dismissal will be appropriate.

Read full case report of O’Farrill v New Manage Ltd t/a Hooks Gym London Shootfighters

5. Not allowing the employee to be accompanied at a disciplinary hearing.

Campbell v Mitie Managed Services Ltd (employment tribunal)

Although it is a statutory right, the Acas code reminds employers of the requirement to allow the employee to be accompanied at a disciplinary hearing. The right to be accompanied arises when a worker who is invited by his or her employer to attend a disciplinary or grievance hearing makes a reasonable request for a companion to attend the hearing.

Read full case report of Campbell v Mitie Managed Services Ltd

6. Relying on evidence from one particular source with no corroborative evidence.

Doyle v European Trade Exhibition Services Ltd (employment tribunal)

There may be limited circumstances where one individual’s evidence is enough to lead to a disciplinary sanction, but an employer should always look for more. Employers should be alert to the problems of relying on one person’s evidence and always look for corroborative evidence.

Read full case report of Doyle v European Trade Exhibition Services Ltd

7. The absence of an adequate appeal stage.

Medhin v Compass Group UK & Ireland Ltd t/a Restaurant Associates (employment tribunal)

The right of appeal is fundamental to ensuring natural justice. Employers should give the employee the opportunity to appeal when the outcome of the disciplinary hearing is communicated to them. Appeals should be unbiased and not be a “foregone conclusion”.

Read full case report of Medhin v Compass Group UK & Ireland Ltd t/a Restaurant Associates

8. Failure to keep clear records of the whole disciplinary process.

Bentley v Supertravel Omnibus Ltd (employment tribunal)

To stand the best chance of successfully defending employment tribunal claims, employers must keep clear records of each stage of the disciplinary process. It is too easy for claimants to find inconsistencies in the evidence if witnesses have to rely purely on memory.

Read full case report of Bentley v Supertravel Omnibus Ltd

9. Delays in dealing with disciplinary issues.

Towart v Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (employment tribunal)

Most cases should be dealt with in a matter of weeks and unexplained delays in the disciplinary proceedings will always be frowned upon by tribunals. However, more complex or difficult cases (for example, where fraud or a criminal offence is alleged) will inevitably take longer.

Read full case report of Towart v Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

10. Having the same person deal with the whole disciplinary process.

Archer and another v Solvent Resource Management Ltd (employment tribunal)

A common failing found in tribunal claims is that the same individual is in charge of the disciplinary process from start to finish. Ideally, different people should carry out the investigation, disciplinary hearing and appeal stage, although this will not always be practicable, particularly for small employers.

Read the full case report of Archer and another v Solvent Resource Management Ltd

This article was originally published on 17 Nov 2011 and updated on 15 April 2015.

122 Responses to Disciplinary procedures: 10 common breaches of the Acas code of practice

  1. Avatar
    Lori Morris 17 Jan 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    I wish to know the minimum time allowed between telling an employee they are to be disciplined and the hearing. I was informed on the Friday that I would be disciplined on the Monday but I found this too little time and with it being the weekend I couldn’t get union representation to go with me.

    • Avatar
      Rhi4nn0n 28 Apr 2014 at 10:36 am #

      It is good practice for employees to be given more than 72 hours notice of disciplinary proceedings.

      • Avatar
        Ally 13 Jun 2014 at 11:34 pm #

        U r always allowed to postpone once at any hearing if u r not ready

  2. Avatar
    WesternApproaches 28 Apr 2014 at 10:30 pm #

    The law should be changed so a anyone can be the companion.

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      NGA_Planner 13 May 2014 at 12:48 pm #

      I cannot see that having anyone allowed would work. Employment relations are difficult enough without the possibility of further confusion from others that only think they know the employees rights. I fully accept that support should be available. It is unlawful for a colleague that accompanies to be discriminated against.

      • Avatar
        WesternApproaches 13 May 2014 at 8:37 pm #

        So why allow a work colleague ? I can almost guarantee that they will be just as confused about employment law. However if someone is prepared to ask questions or question the procedure then that’s an advantage to both parties and if the employer has set it out right there should be no problem. Employment relations are as hard or easy as an individual or company want to make it. In my daughters case we had to get help from a solicitor to point out to the company the flaws in their procedure, money we could ill afford to spend.

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          Guest 30 May 2014 at 12:19 am #

          I wish your daughter good luck for her hearing. No mater what the outcome is tell her to always hold her head up high. If employers have to resort to unfair dirty tactics they know they are in the wrong and although it may be no consolation at the minute, most of them will get their comeuppance some day. They do not deserve to have good people working for them. Employers seem to forget now days that it’s their the staff who make them their profits.

          • Avatar
            WesternApproaches 30 May 2014 at 8:29 am #

            In my daughters case not only were the allegations proved false but I found out later she was being sexually harassed and the only way she could avoid this before going home, was to lock herself in the kitchen. If only I had known.
            The management have given a warning to the perpetrator not to do it again. She feels she cannot work there any more as she will have to work with him.

    • Avatar
      HR Advisor 24 May 2014 at 8:33 pm #

      Any investigation proceedings or disciplinary action will always have an emotional affect on those involved; this is something which the HR department should always keep at the back of their minds when advising and supporting managers. This ensures that all information is taken into consideration, proceedings are carried out in a timely manner and a reasonable, balanced outcome is decided. However, formal processes such as disciplinary meetings and consultations are environments where emotions can run extremely high. Add this to the confidential nature of the issues discussed (from both the employee and Company perspective) means it is only appropriate and constructive to have either individuals trained in dealing with work place disputes (trade union officials / lay members) or held accountable under the Company’s confidentiality clauses / policy (co-workers).

      • Avatar
        WesternApproaches 28 May 2014 at 6:32 pm #

        Advising and supporting managers is all very well but who advises and supports those who are accused ? Those who are not in a union or have access to a lay member are in a negative position. Remember the accused is not allowed to talk to anyone, this an advantage to the employer. The company has the facilities and resources to activate in such dealings. Not all company’s keep to the rules or deal with things fairly.

        • Avatar
          Guest 30 May 2014 at 12:10 am #

          I get the feeling your daughter and I must work for the same employer! We are told not to discuss the incident with any one yet in my case the bully has been seen colluding with managers and cohorts.

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            WesternApproaches 30 May 2014 at 8:30 am #

            Stand your ground.

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          danielcouch123@gmail.com 24 Jul 2014 at 12:16 pm #

          You do not have to be in a Union to have Union representation. As an accreditted Union negotiator I can represent anybody in a disciplinary hearing or appeal hearing. Even if we don’t both work for the same company

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            WesternApproaches 24 Jul 2014 at 10:37 pm #

            But only if the company agrees ?

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            Sharon 8 Aug 2014 at 12:07 am #

            Can you represent me then Daniel?? My union in the back pocket of the company, not happy about it as I have paid subs for over 10 years, wonder if I can claim my money back of them, useless!!

          • Avatar
            Coco73 27 Oct 2014 at 12:29 pm #

            Hello, I joined a union in July 2014 due to a problem at work whereby I raised a grievance about a male colleague who was verbally harassing me, I am Female, with sexual and discriminative verbal abuse in front of staff and customers , previously this male colleague assaulted me in work and was given a final written warning. Since then he has verbally abused me over and over again. I have now had my six years of employment (problem free conduct) terminated and he is still working there. My union said they can not represent me at my (Disciplinary or appeal) due to my joining the union after the problem started in May 2014.

          • Avatar
            aidy 27 Nov 2014 at 11:08 pm #

            can u advise me with my disciplinary and suspention

      • Avatar
        DanielCouch123 24 Jul 2014 at 12:14 pm #

        That’s what Union Reps are for!!

    • Avatar
      Guest 30 May 2014 at 12:03 am #

      I fully agree. Especially when other colleagues are afraid to be your witness and were I work ALL union reps are in the employers pockets. Most reps are team leaders and there main role is to persuade us to agree to anything the employer wants. Where I work Some union reps have even been afflicted with amnesia. They accompany a colleague as a rep and witness then loose their notes along with their memory!

  3. Avatar
    Sarah Black 1 May 2014 at 2:13 pm #

    is it fair to give an informal discussion and signed cop .to employee for making a mistake during training

    • Avatar
      NGA_Planner 13 May 2014 at 12:39 pm #

      It is either informal so just a discussion or if this has been issued as a form of written notice as you suggest then I do believe that the person should have the right to a comanion/trades union rep. (see point 5 above). A genuine mistake especially while being trained is wrong. This is training and not to be confused with probation. Training by its very nature implies that the person is not yet fully skilled in their area of work. Clarify that what was said was definitely informal and cannot be used at a later date should the employer be looking to formally charge with any wrongdoing.

    • Avatar
      HR Advisor 24 May 2014 at 8:23 pm #

      Informal discussions are often used as an effective performance management tool. Basically, they provide written evidence of an agreement which focuses on a performance issue and any relevant next steps which will increase the employees ability to achieve. An informal can be referred back to if the issue moves from a ‘skill’ concern to a ‘will’ concern; that is to say, the individual has had all the relevant training and information but still does not comply with their manager’s request. This potential conduct issue may be investigated with the informal discussion and agreed next steps referred to, to prove the individual has had previous training and support. Because informal discussions are a summary of agreed next steps as part of an individual’s training which is conducted on a one-to-one basis between a manager and an employee: there is no statutory requirement for a representative to be present.

  4. Avatar
    worried mum 5 May 2014 at 9:06 pm #

    Can anyone tell me how long a employer can take with the outcome of a appeal against dismissal, my son was dismissed 18th march had an appeal hearing 27th march and up till today 5th may hasn’t heard the outcome, how can a company do this?

    • Avatar
      HR Advisor 24 May 2014 at 8:13 pm #

      The time scale for an Appeal consideration should be ‘reasonable’. In the same view as the disciplinary process itself, the outcome shouldn’t take any longer than a matter of weeks. However, many Company’s will specify appeal timescales within their relevant Policy and Procedure i.e. 5 working days. Your son may wish to contact his employer for an update and request a copy of the Appeals Policy and Procedure if he still hasn’t heard anything. It’s usually a good idea to follow up any request with an email request so you have some written evidence that an update has been requested.

      • Avatar
        amie newton 29 Nov 2014 at 9:45 pm #

        hi, i got dismissed on the 24th oct and my appeal is on the 1st dec, i wanted to attend and have evidence to support my appeal but i have now found a new job and i start work on the 1st so can not attend, can i still take to court for lost of earning x

    • Avatar
      Sheila p 7 Aug 2014 at 11:50 pm #

      Hi I recently got dismissed and I put appeal in, I sent my letter in on a Friday morning and got a reply back later the same day informing me my appeal will be heard Monday! They didn’t even give me 1 whole working day to prepare my case.

  5. Avatar
    jet 29 May 2014 at 6:05 pm #

    Hello my name is jet, I am writing here suffering from work related stress this bullying i have gone though for years and it is only now after reading your informaion iknow why i am wierd over and over why cant doctor see this i went to mine yesterday and told her about it now at least she is taking a bit of notice iam going to ask her to put me somewhere i need to get back out there and shout my truth from the roof tops.IT IS TRUTH another person took my life and left me like a walking dead i

  6. Avatar
    tony hyatt 17 Jun 2014 at 5:21 pm #

    a friend has been reinstated is it mandatory for the employer to backdate lost wages

  7. Avatar
    Sal 20 Jun 2014 at 8:56 pm #

    I was taken to disaplinary and given a written warning, I have not received this warning and it has been 10 days ago how long do they have to give this to me as I want to appeal due to no notes being taken ?

  8. Avatar
    Adrian Stokes 1 Jul 2014 at 4:02 pm #

    It’s disturbing to read some of these posts as it is clear that many companies have NO idea of employment law, performance management, or how to treat people with simple compassion and respect. I guess common sense isn’t that common.

    • Avatar
      Aida 15 Oct 2014 at 2:20 pm #

      @ Adrian Stokes thank you for your contribution. The NHS is woefully full of what you have raised. False allegations and bogus investigation conducted by the same manager. It’s terrible

  9. Avatar
    David M 8 Jul 2014 at 7:41 pm #

    I’m currently going through the grievance procedure with my employer and it looks like my grievance may be upheld. In the event my grievance is upheld, am I entitled to know what disciplinary action will be taken against the employee who caused me to raise it in the first place? I fear my employer is wording the outcome in such a manner as to avoid discipling a certain party

    • Avatar
      SLW 21 Jul 2014 at 6:55 pm #

      Hi, can I just say I have had my grievance upheld and have not been told of the action.

    • Avatar
      westend 28 Dec 2014 at 7:05 am #

      David M. Your grievance may not automatically mean the person responsible has breached the organisations disciplinary policy. It may be the organisation chooses to offer the person ‘management advice’ in respect of their behaviour towards you. This may (but not always) be seen as an informal warning. The key thing about any potential disciplinary process is ensuring an employee is fully aware of the potential future consequences of their actions. I.e. formal disciplinary and the potential sanctions. You should ask yourself what difference would it make if you knew what happened to the other employee? The key thing is they are aware their actions were inappropriate and the company has demonstrated this by upholding your grievance. An employer does not operate in the same capacity as a court of law it is there to run a business which entails managing the employment relationship, its not intended to be a judicial system. Best wishes

  10. Avatar
    id21 31 Jul 2014 at 5:58 am #

    Id like to know whether the accused may ask to see the minutes of the investigation.

  11. Avatar
    Jobi 31 Jul 2014 at 8:33 am #

    Hi, after a 5 months paid suspension and 6-meetings sham disciplinary process, my friend was dismissed for timesheet (allegation of hours not worked but paid) fraud. The process was riddled with unbelievable errors for a FTSE 100 company. The process was started all over again after 2 meetings: Management stated “a need for fairness”. One disciplinary invitation letter had a scheduled meeting date that was in the past! On a subsequent invitation letter, the scheduled day and date did not match on the calendar. Another meeting was adjourned when she pointed out to them that there was no discrepancy between hours worked and wages paid according to supporting evidence provided after cross checking their evidence with the specific dates the invitation letter alleged that the fraud was committed. After admitting their “error”, they adjourned the meeting till another day. On reconvening, before the meeting commenced, my friend asked specifically if the 2 dates of the alleged fraud on the new meeting invitation letter were correct this time around, to which the answered “YES”. When she called their attention to the fact that those 2 dates were sundays (a day the company is always closed for business) they gave an excuse that they meant “week ending sunday…”. At this point my friend refused to answer any other question outside the specific dates stated on the invitation letter as the day the alleged fraud took place.
    Has the disciplinary process been flawed? Does she have a strong case if it goes to tribunal?  Is there any relivant case law?

  12. Avatar
    Hanna25 7 Aug 2014 at 12:09 pm #

    Hi I got dismissed in January 2013 after working for a high street mobile phone company they franchised our store and within 5 weeks of them taking over 3 members of staff were suspended and dismissed, their fact find was like an Kangroo court, they have no actual evidence agains me only that I was the branch manager. The staff who worked for them came to our store and fabricated false information against me, now only to find one of the workers has left and they are still persuing this case all the way to the tribunal. I have a statement from previous employer backing me up but this company is refusing to consider this evidence.

  13. Avatar
    Sharon p 8 Aug 2014 at 10:24 am #

    Hi can please someone tell me if I have good grounds to take my employer to tribunal if I know they have not give me a fair investigation and disaplinary hearing and already found me guilty.

  14. Avatar
    MLawton 8 Sep 2014 at 12:51 pm #

    I took a grievance against a person who spread lies about me in the office. My employer took her side and I lost. However, even though we been friends for a long time, she now counter accuses me of ‘making inappropriate and unwanted comments’ to her. I am appealing the decision of my grievance. Can I request a copy of the written statement of he counter allegations as i have not been told formally or otherwise what they are? Can I also get copies of all the other relevant statements taken during the process?

  15. Avatar
    Albert 6 Oct 2014 at 8:36 am #

    My information meeting letter had my charge to be talked about at the wrong time,I let them know there was no s,s,w I was never told not to do as I had (11 years) the machines I used were reported months in advance to the manager sitting opposite me but he never stopped them to be repaired knowing they were dangerous,then said at the meeting if I did what I had done from a lesser height?
    Methinks they’re trying to construct something here……

  16. Avatar
    jeanne 24 Oct 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    I have been involved with a disciplinary and so far its taken 14 weeks. What time considered a long time its driving me mad

  17. Avatar
    nearly_jobless 29 Oct 2014 at 3:44 pm #

    My job us being advertised before my disciplinary meeting, is this predetermined?

    • Avatar
      westend 28 Dec 2014 at 7:12 am #

      Potentially but only if you are the only person doing that job and the job description supporting the job matches yours exactly.

    • Avatar
      WesternApproaches 19 Apr 2015 at 9:05 am #

      Yes it is.

  18. Avatar
    MMantle 5 Nov 2014 at 2:08 pm #

    My husband was given a written warning, which he appealed but it was upheld. He has now been told he will be given a final warning but he disputes the reasons. Can this appeal be overturned and then turn into dismissal. Also what is the time allowed between the disciplinary and the appeal hearing. This happened in June and they have only now advised him that the appeal meeting will be held tomorrow. We have read somewhere that after 3 months have passed it does not stand. Is this true.

  19. Avatar
    Steve 21 Nov 2014 at 7:31 pm #

    Can my employer increase my level of punishment if my appeal is unsuccessful?

    • Avatar
      Emma 27 Nov 2014 at 3:48 pm #

      Hi Steve

      They shouldn’t do as a tribunal would look very dimly on an employer who does this. It would be seen as an attempt by the employer to discourage employees from appealing against disciplinary warnings

  20. Avatar
    amie newton 29 Nov 2014 at 9:57 pm #

    hi, i got dismissed on the 24th oct and my appeal is on the 1st dec, i wanted to attend and have evidence to support my appeal but i have now found a new job and i start work on the 1st so can not attend, can i still take to court for lost of earning, i got dismissed for falsifying time sheets and being late, but one time when i put i was in at 10am it got changed while i was on my dinner to 8:15am when i know i was in a taxi heading to a train station then and another time i put 9:55 but my manager says i was in at 10:05 when i was on phone to my mum at 9:55 when heading to my desk. so i got a warning but by this time i didn’t know the first one was changed, so when i got letter saying i had a disciplinary meeting on the 24th i was shocked, and it was because i put on the 12th oct i was in at 8:45 but as some on my team member didnt see me till 10:30 that wasnt in the building when i was in a meeting with another manager till half 10, hence why i was seen. and this lateness is another thing as i have a contract to work 8am – 8pm mon – fri, so me and the other manager agreed 10am – 6pm, yet my line manager marked me as late which i didnt think they could. so because i could find evidence to support my claims as i forgot about the meeting, they sacked me on the spot, but it just happens i told my line mangaer i was put on depression tablets as i had a phantom pregnancy, and i also heard i go hired in error, i was gutted as i loved that job.

  21. Avatar
    luigi 10 Dec 2014 at 7:14 am #

    i am currently going through a difficult process which I am not allowed to discuss with anyone – however the other party is telling everyone what has happened & it puts me in a really awkward position as I am expected to return to work & just get on with it… Can I do anything to force my employers to deal with this?

    • Avatar
      Emma 12 Dec 2014 at 2:44 pm #

      Hi Luigi

      I would have a word with your line manager / HR in the first instance and explain to them that you feel it is a breach of confidentiality on the part of the other party. Ask them to speak to the other party to remind them that the situation is confidential. If this doesn’t work or if your company ignores this request you may wish to consider raising a formal grievance.

  22. Avatar
    Mendel 14 Dec 2014 at 9:41 pm #

    Can an employer change the company disciplinary procedure without notifying anyone but management?

    • Avatar
      Emma 15 Dec 2014 at 1:14 pm #

      If your Company’s disciplinary procedure is not contractual then your employer does not need to consult with its employees before changing the procedure.

  23. Avatar
    mm 16 Dec 2014 at 11:21 pm #

    i received an email whilst at work today from my director at 3.15pm that i was invited to attend hearing at 3.30pm – this came as a complete shock to me. I was allowed to take a work collegue with me, the outcome was that my 6 months with them had not proved as working well (my probation period was 3 months), they said they would pay me to end of decemebr andwould not expect me to be in work in this time. their reasons was my absence due to compassionate leave re family problems collating to 8 days absence and 8 late ‘authorised’ starts

    • Avatar
      westend 28 Dec 2014 at 7:20 am #

      Hi mm,
      Your starting point would be your employers policies. Ask them for their probation policy, leave of absence and/or their sickness management policy, capability and disciplinary policies. If the employer has not applied the policies correctly you could appeal their decision.

  24. Avatar
    NT 23 Dec 2014 at 4:42 pm #

    I have recently been dismissed by a charity whilst in month 4 of my 6 month probation. I had to ask the Head HR to stop bullying me about my size, height, and appearance by making fun of me in front of others and I had to complain about him making homophobic “joke” remarks in front of me towards my manager. He then didn’t speak to me at all. 6 weeks later when I wasn’t paid my childcare vouchers on time a second month in a row, because the Head HR had failed to order them on time, I raised a complaint to the CEO about his behavior and failure to order my vouchers on time. It was ignored completely by the CEO and when I returned to work 48 hours later I was taken into a meeting room without warning and dismissed for making “appalling and serious allegations” against the Head HR and given other very lame reasons for my dismissal like being late once. This meeting was later falsely labelled a “probationary review”. I have complained to the Chairman of the Charity about the Head HR bullying of me and others (single mothers should keep their legs shut is something he said to his own assistant) and of my late childcare vouchers and the Company Secretary has split my grievance into two procedures, him Chairing one and the CFO covering another. It’s an absolute mess – I can’t even keep up with what they are doing! They’ve not upheld anything and labelled the homophobia “mild banter” and suggested I wasn’t bullied at all. I was dismissed after complaining – that’s bullying in itself.

  25. Avatar
    Thomas Wills 19 Jan 2015 at 9:40 pm #

    How long after an incident can my manager issue a file note against me? My district manager issued a file note against me yesterday (18/01/2015) for an incident that took place a whole 39 days ago. I am aware disciplinary action MUST be taken within 28 days of an incident happening but I feel he has given me a file note just to abuse his position of authority and bully me. 39 days after the incident in question occuring isn’t justifyable in my opinion. Any advice would be great thank you.

  26. Avatar
    Louise 27 Jan 2015 at 12:53 pm #


    Does a company have to give you a verbal warning before a written warning?

    Also, they gave me less than 48 hours notice and I requested to rearrange as I needed more time to find the suitable person accompany me to the disciplinary hearing, but they haven’t yet responded. Do they have to postpone? Or can they just go ahead, even though I’ve contacted them and given valid reason.

  27. Avatar
    Brian Cumbria 1 Feb 2015 at 10:55 pm #


  28. Avatar
    Tim 2 Feb 2015 at 7:23 pm #

    Hi, what can you if the employer bring charges after 60 days from the 1st day you were suspended?

    • Avatar
      Emma 18 Feb 2015 at 2:42 pm #

      HI Tim

      it depends on what the reason for the delay was. personally I think 60 days is too long but if the investigation was particularly complex then the delay may be reasonable

  29. Avatar
    CV 3 Feb 2015 at 11:22 am #

    Does an employer have to follow their own suspension checklist – I was suspended and it was not followed – where do I stand ?

    • Avatar
      Emma 16 Feb 2015 at 3:17 pm #

      If the check list is not contractual then they do not have to follow it. However this is something that I would mention to them at the disciplinary meeting. Alternatively you could raise a grievance.

  30. Avatar
    Reece 14 Feb 2015 at 12:33 pm #

    So Im a paperboy 16 years old, I’m receivimg a written disciplinary for not having my right to work document, which I think consists of my national insurance number! My mum sent for the national insurance number over a month ago as it didn’t come before my birthday like most people but is it totally fair that I’m receiving the disciplinary when I’d already sent off for my number?? Someone help!

    • Avatar
      Emma 16 Feb 2015 at 3:16 pm #

      Hi Reece

      your eligibility to work in the UK documentation should either be your passport or your national insurance number (either your letter with this number on or another official document with your number on it) and your long birth certificate.

      Your employer should have obtained this information before employing you – however if you feel the disciplinary decision was unfair you have the right to appeal against the warning.

  31. Avatar
    Gillian 14 Feb 2015 at 7:59 pm #

    Can anyone tell me if a staff warning is confidential?

    • Avatar
      Emma 16 Feb 2015 at 3:13 pm #

      Hi Gillian

      Disciplinary warnings should not become common knowledge but a number of people may need to know this information (HR, line manager, their manager etc.)

  32. Avatar
    Damien 17 Feb 2015 at 11:36 pm #

    I have two questions

    1) if an investigatory report draws on conclusions is this fair then to be pushed to disciplinary given it should be the disciplinary panel who draws it conclusions
    2) if an employee has a grievance can this be heard immediatly before a disciplinary hearing e.g. just a 10 min adjournment

    • Avatar
      Emma 18 Feb 2015 at 2:41 pm #

      Hi Damien

      The purpose of an investigation is to establish whether an employee may have breached and of the company’s rules and regulations. Therefore it is perfectly acceptable for an investigation to conclude that the employee may have or has broken the company rules and that this issue should be escalated for a disciplinary. What is not acceptable is if an investigation states that a disciplinary sanction should be applied ( as this is the job of the person hearing the disciplinary)

      To answer your question about the grievance – if the grievance raises issues which relate to the reason for the disciplinary in any way then it is acceptable, and indeed preferable that the grievance be heard at the same time as the disciplinary. This is often referred to as running the 2 procedures ‘concurrently’.

      Hope this helps

    • Avatar
      Si 1 Apr 2015 at 3:15 pm #

      I turned up for a 1:1 briefing and was dismissed during the meeting without being informed of the purpose prior and not having a chance to have someone else present.
      Is this allowed?

  33. Avatar
    annette66 20 Feb 2015 at 12:31 am #

    I have had problems at work, with victimisation, harassment, which I think relates to my age, I am in my 60’s. I have raised a grievance, but my employers are dragging their heels. I think they are going to drag it past the 3 month less 1 day deadline I have for taking a case to tribunal. Can I force them to hurry ? It seems I can’t raise an EC or ET1 until the grievance ahs been heard, is this true ?

    • Avatar
      Emma 20 Feb 2015 at 2:50 pm #

      Hi Annette

      you can submit an ET1 before your grievance is concluded. You may get questions by the Tribunal as to why you did not wait but as long as you can give a clear reason for this (that you Company is deliberately slowing the process down) then you should be fine. Another point to consider is that the 3 month time limit can be taken from when you last experienced discrimination, therefore if this is still happening to you and you can supply evidence of this then you still have plenty of time to submit your ET1.

      Does that help?

    • Avatar
      Ray 27 Feb 2015 at 12:48 pm #

      Hi I agree with the commetn below I just wouldn’t allege they are deliberately delaying unless you can prove that – you wnat to remain the reasonable one. Better to say the process is taking a long time / too long and you are concious of the deadline.

      • Avatar
        Emma 5 Mar 2015 at 2:33 pm #

        Hi Ray

        my advice regarding the delay was in relation to Annette explaining to the Tribunal why she did not submit her claim in time. This would not be an unreasonable approach to take as a Tribunal may rule the claim out of time if they do not have a good reason to hear it.

        Hope this clarifies

  34. Avatar
    Bullied ByYou 23 Feb 2015 at 9:33 am #

    Well I went through hell on earth last year. My employers failed in the area’s on 2,3,4, 6, 7 and 10 of the above. I was told to accept the outcome (regardless if I was right or wrong) if I wanted to keep my job. It was a direct threat. I was even forced into writing an apology to a particular vindictive individual for speaking a foreign language with another 2 colleagues yet only 2 of us were hauled over the coals! (Surely there is a law for language discrimination and could it not be stretched to racism if it is part of your ethnicity?) I had thought we were a multicultural society where a variety of languages are spoken! I wanted to challenge this and meet face to face yet HR prevented this from happening. I challenged why other languages spoken in the office on a regular basis hadn’t been subjected to the same treatment. Then a false accusation arose from a Twitter post. I again was hauled over the coals, but there was lack of evidence and I have subsequently been subjected to months of now stalking on social media. I could prove that certain work colleagues were visiting my LinkedIn page 2-3 times a day yet nothing was done about that?! Nevertheless I have lost faith in the system as it sure as hell never protected me last year.

    • Avatar
      Emma 23 Feb 2015 at 4:54 pm #


      the ‘system’ you refer to is just employment legislation. If you don’t agree with what your employers have done then raise a grievance, put in a tribunal claim or join a union who can represent your interests. There’s lots of ways you can ensure that you’re treated fairly by your employers but you need to be proactive if you are employed by a company who do not comply with the law.

  35. Avatar
    mark 28 Feb 2015 at 8:33 am #

    Is an employer allowed 2 advertise ur job when going through a appealls proces pls?

    • Avatar
      Lyn 3 Mar 2015 at 4:05 am #

      No they should advertise the post you was in

    • Avatar
      Emma 5 Mar 2015 at 2:26 pm #

      HI Mark

      an employer can advertise your job if you have been dismissed, however if they are aware that you have appealed against your dismissal they would be unwise to hire someone as this will make the appeal outcome look pre-determined and would be hard to defend at an Employment Tribunal

  36. Avatar
    Lyn 3 Mar 2015 at 12:28 am #

    I had to leave my job due to management made a dummy of me and hanged it by its neck when I was of sick. I was told by work friend not to go into the office as she did not want me to see it. I put a grivance in but lost as the owner said it was meant to be a nice breaker as I was due to go into work that day with a sick note due to work related stress. My friend told me at least 5 staff commented about it. These people where named and attended investagsion meeting. I was told by the owner that my friend story was different than every one else.
    It made me so ill that i had to see a councillor as I wanted to hang my self out side the office in the tree to save them the bother.
    I did not appeal as it was not worth it. Mediation meeting was done but the mangement who did it said nothing. I went back to work for 1 day but just was unable to work with these people so made myself unemployed and can’t get another job. My friend is leaving to as was bullied after I reported to the owner plus 15 over staff leaving as they can not stand the fact that I was treated so bad. Since I left lots of staff have said they saw it to.
    Becuse I had to leave as the job made me so ill is they anything else I can do.

    • Avatar
      Emma 5 Mar 2015 at 2:30 pm #

      Hi Lyn

      If you had over 2 years service with your employer you could consider making an claim to an Employment Tribunal for constructive dismissal. If your sickness absence was related to a disability you may also want to include disability discrimination with your claim.

      In addition you may want to consider a personal injury claim if you feel that your ex employers actions resulted in your being unwell

      • Avatar
        Lyn 5 Mar 2015 at 4:09 pm #

        Can people claim personal injury even if it is due yo stress from the work

        • Avatar
          Emma 6 Mar 2015 at 2:22 pm #

          Hi Lyn

          yes – you would be making a claim based on the fact that your work had caused your illness

          • Avatar
            Lyn 6 Mar 2015 at 3:46 pm #

            Thankyou I have a go at that than

  37. Avatar
    samy 5 Mar 2015 at 5:04 pm #

    hi, i reported a criminal activity in my workplace to my employer. the later did not keep it confidential so others called me spy. i am forced now to leave my job, what to do? thanks

    • Avatar
      Emma 6 Mar 2015 at 2:24 pm #

      Hi Samy

      if you have over 2 years service with your employer you may have a claim for constructive dismissal. I suggest your first step would be to write to your employer outlining your complaint and why you felt forced to resign

  38. Avatar
    Chris 5 Mar 2015 at 11:00 pm #

    I didn’t get the statements against me until the meeting,

  39. Avatar
    Chris 5 Mar 2015 at 11:02 pm #

    I also was supposed to have my disaplinery on Monday but a 11:30 am that day they told me it was moved to Friday, I’ve had no written confirmation is this right

    • Avatar
      Emma 6 Mar 2015 at 2:25 pm #

      Hi Chris

      you are supposed to received reasonable notice of a disciplinary meeting which doesn’t seem to have happened in your case. This may be grounds for an appeal if your were issued with a disciplinary warning

  40. Avatar
    GodSAveAmerica 20 Mar 2015 at 8:59 am #

    I am currently having a minimum of two grievances filed regarding vague disciplinary letters given to me. I was sick provided doc paper and all steps were followed accordiong to the union contract by me. The employer now implies the paper is not good enough for the absences from work; never will say what would be enough to validate the absence.. We are talking about two different days a total of two days months apart. Even the union was WTF.. NOW the employer is having another meeting and subject is again unknown. That was the case for the two other meetings as well; never would tell me what the meetings were about until the meeting. I have been working for my employer for over 20 years and have always passed my yearly performance revues.

  41. Avatar
    PH 22 Mar 2015 at 2:52 pm #

    if a person had an investigation meeting, which followed a letter of invitation to a disciplinary hearing the next day ( the invitation gave a weeks notice of the meeting given)… can have person be suspended at any point during that week, or does the suspension have to happen at the start or not at all?

    • Avatar
      Emma 30 Mar 2015 at 4:36 pm #


      the decision to suspend very much depends on the company’s own policies and procedures. In some cases an organisation will choose to suspend prior to investigation, after investigation and prior to disciplinary or not at all.

      The company may also choose not to suspend initially but if further information comes to light prior to the meeting or if the employee behaves in an inappropriate manner then the company may reserve the right to suspend at that point

  42. Avatar
    emz1519 27 Mar 2015 at 11:15 pm #

    I have a disciplinary for a think 21 that my assistant manager failed even tho i had the morning off until 3.30pm surely this cannot be right just because iam the shop manager how can i be called in for something when i wasnt even at work and did not fail the think 21 myself.

    • Avatar
      Emma 30 Mar 2015 at 4:37 pm #

      I would suggest that you take proof that you weren’t at work when this happened with you to your disciplinary meeting. You may find that this clears your name.

  43. Avatar
    T 29 Mar 2015 at 11:04 pm #

    I work as a team leader for a large corporate business. I am currently on maternity leave when an incident outside of work with one of my colleagues occurred. My colleague physically assaulted me, I defended myself and then left, an investigation has been made against me and I have now been suspended from work on full pay. I was due to return to work on 1st April. My manager is now pursuing a further investigation as apparently things have come up about my behaviour as a team leader, whhcj potentially could have occurred 12 months. No complaint was ever made at the time and I have no idea what the allegations

    • Avatar
      Emma 30 Mar 2015 at 4:40 pm #


      I don’t think that there’s much you can do until you have been told the allegations against you. Once you have this information you can start to think about how you can put your side of the story across. Investigating things that happened 12 months ago isn’t usual however if the delay was for a good reason (your maternity leave or issues only just raised by team members) then it might be seen reasonable

  44. Avatar
    adam 1 Apr 2015 at 1:33 pm #

    I have been given a 6 month written warning for allegedly going through a red light on video, I probed all evidence to be void in my hearing causing it to be suspended. In the video I change lanes… They came back to me and said it’s server enough to land me with a 6 months written warning.

    • Avatar
      Emma 7 Apr 2015 at 11:34 am #

      Suggest you exercise your right to appeal against the warning

  45. Avatar
    Si 1 Apr 2015 at 3:17 pm #

    I turned up for a 1:1 briefing and was dismissed during the meeting without being informed of the purpose prior and not having a chance to have someone else present.
    Is this process allowed?

    • Avatar
      Emma 7 Apr 2015 at 11:36 am #

      If you had less than 2 years service then your company can do this. It’s not how I would do it and it’s certainly not morally right but legally it’s allowed.

  46. Avatar
    HateEmployers 4 Apr 2015 at 3:45 am #

    I raised two grievances on 20th January. One being that my line manager caused me work related stress through bullying and overwork. The other being the same manager(who is also the health&safety manager) the same day i started being off gossiped about my illness(i have evidence of this). This resulted in the triggering of depression. I have worked for this employer for 8 years. I had a non work related period of depression in this employment before so they knew of it. I feel they have not taken my grievances seriously and have taken an abnormal amount of time to deal with it, which only exasperated my depression. I was told on the 26th March they will get back to me with an outcome “hopefully within two weeks”. Making the total time between filing my grievances and the outcome 12weeks! is this normal? Any other thoughts, greatly appreciated.

    • Avatar
      Emma 7 Apr 2015 at 11:39 am #

      It’s not ideal that it has taken such a long time but if the grievance procedure is very lengthy (often the case in public sector) or the investigation very complex then it’s not totally unexpected. Wait for your outcome and then you can decide if you’re happy with it or if you want to appeal.

  47. Avatar
    Rob Corbett 15 Apr 2015 at 12:55 pm #

    my friend was involved in a disciplinary matter which was appallingly mishandled by the company and she has raised a grievance about their line manager before getting legal advice which reccommended she resign as she wasnt being paid and needed to claim benefits.
    she is now told that the outcome of the grievance cannot be shared with them as they she is no longer an employee. is this corrrect??

    • Avatar
      Emma 21 Apr 2015 at 1:36 pm #

      I’m very suprised at the legal advice your friend received – I would never recommend that somone resigns until they have exhausted every internal procedure in relation to a grievance. In addition to this, benefits are normally withheld for a period of time if an employee resigns from their position.

      Suggest she appeals the outcome of the grievance on the basis that she has not been advised of the outcome. Depending on her length of service her options may be limited in terms of an Employment Tribunal. If she has over 2 years then she could claim constructive dismissal depending on the reason for her resignation. If she has under 2 years and she was treated unfavourably due to being a women she may be able to claim sex discrimination.

      You mention that she wasn’t being paid so depending on the reason for this she may be able to claim unlawful deduction of wages.

      I would advise that she gets some specialst employment law advice (from a different solicitor) to discuss her options.

  48. Avatar
    S** 13 May 2015 at 3:26 pm #

    I am pregnant and my team leader has done unlawful discrimination against me I have lodged a complain to HR on Monday. He came back to me on Wednesday. They said that they think that I was right and they have taken diciplinary action against my team leader which they cannot disclose to me but he wasn’t terminated from employment nor he was moved from his position. And I have to work with him until I leave for my maternity leave.they just advised me that he will be councelled and coached.
    HR manager said that the decision was made by the manager and general manager.

    Can they not disclose the actions taken? Shouldn’t HR make the decision? Because managers will influence their business decisions ?

    • Avatar
      Emma 18 May 2015 at 2:43 pm #

      HR’s function isn’t to manage employees on the managers behalf and therefore they shouldn’t be making the decision. All HR can do is provide advice and guidance regarding appropriate actions.

      I wouldn’t expect the action to be disclosed as it is confidential. For example if your manager is going to be disciplined I would consider it to be inappropriate and a breach of confidentiality for you to know this.

      I don’t know what form the discrimination took but unless it was extremely serious I wouldn’t expect your manager to be dismissed – what he did would have to be gross misconduct in order for him to be dismissed and it’s unlikely that this dismissal would be seen as fair

  49. Avatar
    Siobhan 18 May 2015 at 9:57 pm #

    I work with the Ambulance service but I’m not on the front line any more due to stress so I moved to non emergency work, when I started working in this job I was crewed with another person but after two years this person moved to a different job so I was left doing the job of two people. This job as you can imagine is heavy work and I sustained one or two injuries over this time on my own but never claimed. In 2010 I hurt my back again and I was out of work, at this time I got my union involved and I set the grievance procedure in place but my union to be honest weren’t any use ,I was able to work but not in the same position my Consultant the occupational health and my Gp recommended administration role and I was told by the union that I would be sorted out but unfortunately they lied,the last meeting I had with HR and my union, HR told me they had a job for me working on a mini bus and I explained that there would still be heavy lifting involved in that role but I was told to take it or leave it and the union guy just sat there and said nothing! !!! I went and worked on the bus and have re injured by back and I’m out of work again the unions again aren’t any use I’m out of work nearly 7 months and I’m off pay. The union guy has told me that HR are willing to offer me a position in administration but the ambulance refuse to release my no. I can never get hold of my union guy I have sent plenty of emails I’ve left voice mail but he never returns any of them. I blocked my mobile number today and he answered. He is giving me mixed messages any time I do get to speak to him, we have set the grievance procedure in place around 10 days ago and they still haven’t got back to us but again the union guy is non plused about the hole thing and said they could leave me out of work indefinitely. I really have no faith whatsoever in the union but what can I do please help. Sorry for the long mail I hope it makes sense.

  50. Avatar
    Michael Coleman 22 May 2015 at 8:22 am #

    One of our employers has this morning text in to say that due to her flight being “majorly” delayed after holiday she is not able to come in.

    Firstly this is the 4th time she has failed to follow company procedure in texting in rather than calling in and speaking to a manager to which she has previously received a written.

    Secondly we were informed that the holiday was a “surprise family holiday” from her mother and that she did not know this was happening, this left the team very short due to others also being on holiday to since discover that this is not the case and she travelled away with friends (Facebook is not always a good place to post on).

    Thirdly having contacts within the airport (we actually recruit staff for the airline in question) we know that the flight was delayed by only 20 minutes and would have meant she had over three hours to get into work. (the airport is 15 minutes from the office).

    The above has obviously meant that all trust has been broken – the company handbook clearly states that dishonesty is a reason for gross misconduct. Would the above constitute that?

    • Avatar
      Emma 26 May 2015 at 2:22 pm #

      it really depends on your own policies and whether you have dealt with a similar incident in the same way before. It certainly sounds like she has been dishonest but your first step is to throughly investigate the issue and ask her to explain the discrepancies in her story. You can then make a decision regarding whether you think her dishonesty constitutes gross misconduct in these circumstances.

    • Avatar
      Mel 30 Nov 2015 at 8:05 pm #

      My husband employed me His staff totally ostrized me bullied me and complained about me. He would not back me up as they work for him and bring in the business. We had a row and he sacked me…….can I do anything about this..,…I’m now also divorcing him!

  51. Avatar
    Melanie Gorman 29 May 2015 at 12:52 pm #

    I was suspended from work on 26th May 2015. I received a letter to confirm my suspension on 28th May which advised me that I would hear in writing about a date for a disciplinary hearing. On the same day, 28th May 2015,
    my job was advertised by a recruitment agency & the government job search website. On 29th May, I received a letter inviting me to a disciplinary on 2nd June. Can my employer advertise my job before the disciplinary hearing? It seems to me that the outcome has already been determined so it won’t be a fair disciplinary. Should I still attend the disciplinary?

  52. Avatar
    kerry mcdonagh 24 Oct 2015 at 11:50 am #

    Hi I ve been with my company nearly 3years working at different schools I attended a close family friends funenal on the 13th Oct iwas due to go back in next afternoon but did not make it we were still greiving as nd didn’t think of ring to get cover so then I got phone call to say I have been terminated from my job with out even exsplaing what can I do

  53. Avatar
    veena 1 Nov 2015 at 7:33 am #

    I have a staff and which didn’t turn up to work in weeks time..After our HR rang than he was forced to come ..he was ill but didn’t visit doctor. .was sent home because He was sick, not well..now since his back on Fridays did mentioned to HR to issue a displnery letter. But that’s not done.can you guide me what’s the right procedure.

  54. Avatar
    Paula Armstrong 9 Nov 2015 at 4:17 pm #

    Could I have a case if I believe the person who gave me my disciplinary to be biased, I was also not informed it could lead to my termination.

  55. Avatar
    roy 23 Nov 2015 at 7:18 pm #

    ive just had an informal meeting that they have decided ive got to go for a stage 2 meeting for gross misconduct but there is 2 dwscrepences in there paperwork about the evidence were do i stand coz only noticed after they posted by hand through my door secondly they would only allow me a person who works for the company to sit in with me on the informal meeting but is that my only rights as i was nervous and dont trust other employees coz i know they all gossip

  56. Avatar
    Sharon James 27 Nov 2015 at 10:00 am #

    My employer tried to reduce my hours at work, i seeked advice from ACAS who advised me they cant unless i agree. A week later i was sent a letter stating they was going ahead with the hour reduction whether i liked it or not! On the 9th November i called a meeting explaining am a lone parent with no financial help from my childs dad and cannot afford to go ahead with the hour change. The meeting ended with the police being called as my partner was assaulted by the committee. I only pointed out that that evenings events was caused by the secretary by disruptibg my private meeting then bad mouthing me in the bar. I never swore at her or threatened her just said that. That evening i was suspended an the next day was sacked on the spot for supposedly verbally abusing the secretary in which i have witnesses that i didnt. I appealled against theyre decision and they refused my appeal. I have started tribunal proceedings, but can they refuse my appeal via text and not give an explanation?

  57. Avatar
    Thelma Azolukwam 30 Nov 2015 at 11:16 am #

    Is it possinle to have a warning letter given in an impromptu one on one meeting. Its difficult to prepare for what occurs next.

  58. Avatar
    Fayte 4 Dec 2015 at 8:40 am #

    I was informed about 4-5 weeks ago that I was going to have a disaplinary meeting that still haven’t had the reason for this disaplinary is that I had offended a co worker by mistake for which I apologised as soon as it came to my attention that I had done so me and her have always got on well and still do to this day and she wishes to retract her complaint. However I am told she can’t do this when I have put in grievances and complaints in the past they have not been taking seriously and no one else is getting a disaplinary this to me is coming across as a form of bullying and victimisation I suffer with depression at the best of times and having this disaplinary hanging over me for this long is making matters worse how long can they keep it over me each time I am due to have the meeting it gets cancelled an rescheduled.

  59. Avatar
    trudi 9 Dec 2015 at 4:27 am #

    Hi I got called into a meeting where I was offered £4000 to leave my job of 10 years to which I refused this money, then they gave me a suspension letter while I got investigated! Looks to me like they already made there minds up of getting rid of me! Can they do this??

  60. Avatar
    Louise 6 Jan 2016 at 9:00 am #

    I am a teacher I had an allegation against me I went to court and was found not guilty 7 months later after an internal investigation the governors of the school found me guilty on the balance of probability I am taking them to an unfair dismissal in 2 weeks how can a court of law find me not guilty and they find me guilty on the fact I was there so something must have happened I have just found out these witnesses will not appear in court….

  61. Avatar
    Maria Crompton 8 Jan 2016 at 10:15 pm #

    Can I please ask – is it a requirement of the employer to take notes and provide these to the employee on request ?

  62. Avatar
    Rosie 15 Jan 2016 at 12:30 am #

    I went through a grievance procedure with the help of my union but my employer has not honoured the terms and has not paid me or given me a contract that is in accordance with the decision outcome letter so I have been consequently underpaid for 16 months. Any advice?

  63. Avatar
    Warren 18 Jan 2016 at 6:21 pm #

    5 months in on 6 month probation , have hit all targets …I was the most senior manager in charge of store and a chip and pin reader went missing . I informed my manager by telephone . The next day I was called into office and told that it must of been stolen and suspended based on not protecting the assets of the business as I was the most senior member ….I received a letter the following day stating this in writing and an investigation had started … I was texted on the following day asking me to attend an investigation meeting the following day ….I attended and had my employment terminated ?????? Is it really as simple as that