Is there a specific timescale for holding a disciplinary appeal hearing?
There is no specific legal timescale in which a disciplinary appeal hearing should be held. However, para.26 of the Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures provides that appeals should be heard without unreasonable delay, and ideally at an agreed time and place. What constitutes an "unreasonable delay" will depend on the circumstances. The employer should keep the employee informed of the reason for any delay, for example the sickness of a key individual, or the need to investigate new evidence that has come to light.
While breach of the code is not sufficient to enable employees to bring legal proceedings, employment tribunals will take the code into account when considering relevant cases, for example where an employee claims unfair dismissal. Tribunals have the power to increase or reduce compensation by up to 25% if either party has unreasonably failed to comply with the code, for example if the employer fails to hold an appeal hearing without unreasonable delay.
Some employers specify in their disciplinary policy a time limit in which an appeal hearing will be held, for example two calendar weeks, or 10 working days, from receipt of the appeal. If a disciplinary policy is contractual, to avoid breaching the contract, the employer should comply with any timescale that it sets out, unless the employee agrees to a delay.