Is there a minimum disciplinary procedure that employers must follow?

There is no statutory disciplinary procedure that employers must follow, but the Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures sets out the basic principles of a fair procedure. Employment tribunals will take the code into account when considering relevant cases. If an employer has unreasonably failed to follow the code, the tribunal can increase any compensation that it awards by up to 25%.

The minimum steps that employers should follow when dealing with disciplinary issues are to:

  • carry out any necessary investigations to establish the facts;
  • inform the employee of the basis of the problem;
  • hold a meeting to allow the employee to put his or her case and allow the employee to be accompanied at the meeting; and
  • give the employee the right to appeal the decision.

Employers should deal with disciplinary issues without unreasonable delay and should act consistently.