On what grounds can an employee appeal a disciplinary decision?

There are no restrictions on the potential grounds on which an employee can appeal a disciplinary decision. Paragraph 26 of the Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures explains that an employee should appeal if they believe that a disciplinary decision is wrong or unjust. Consequently, employers must take a broad approach in allowing employees the right of appeal.

Potential grounds of appeal could include that:

  • new evidence has come to light that should be investigated;
  • the sanction imposed was too severe or disproportionate to the misconduct;
  • the sanction was inconsistent with one imposed for similar misconduct committed by another employee;
  • there was unfairness or bias among the original decision-makers; or
  • the employer has not taken into account a previously exemplary disciplinary record.

Procedural failings could also form potential grounds for appeal, for example where the employer failed to follow its own disciplinary policy, or did not give the employee enough information about the allegations of misconduct for them to be able to prepare for the disciplinary hearing.