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Disciplinary rules and procedures

Updating author: Nicola Stibbs


  • An employment tribunal may increase or decrease awards of compensation by up to 25% in the event of an unreasonable failure to comply with the "Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures". (See Disciplinary rules and procedures overview)
  • The written statement of terms and conditions of employment issued to every new employee must include certain information relating to disciplinary rules and procedures. (See Written statement of terms and conditions of employment)
  • The "Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures" is designed to assist employers, employees and their representatives in dealing with disciplinary situations in the workplace including misconduct and/or poor performance. (See Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures)
  • Disciplinary rules should be set down in writing, and be specific and clear. (See Drawing up and communicating disciplinary rules)
  • Employers should ensure that they give a clear indication of the types of conduct that will be considered to constitute gross misconduct. (See Summary dismissal)
  • A disciplinary procedure should be regarded primarily as a means of helping and encouraging improvement amongst employees whose conduct or performance is unsatisfactory, rather than a means of imposing sanctions. (See Disciplinary procedures)
  • A distinction should be made between absences caused by ill health and those clearly calling for disciplinary action, and between poor performance due to an inherent inability to function and that due to the employee's own carelessness, negligence or idleness. (See Dealing with absence and Dealing with poor performance)
  • Criminal convictions or charges pending against an employee should not be treated as an automatic reason for dismissal. (See Criminal charges or convictions outside employment)
  • A typical disciplinary procedure will consist of a first oral or written warning, a final written warning and dismissal or some other sanction. (See The disciplinary procedure in operation)
  • It is important that employees have the opportunity to appeal against any disciplinary decision made against them. (See Appeals)
  • The right to be accompanied at each of the formal stages of a disciplinary procedure extends to all workers and not just employees. (See A worker's right to be accompanied at disciplinary hearings)

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