How to handle appeals against disciplinary decisions
Author: Tina Elliott
Click on any of the hyperlinks to go to more detailed guidance below.
- Take into account that not following an appeals procedure that forms part of the contract of employment will be a breach of contract.
- Apply the right of appeal consistently so as to avoid the risk of discrimination claims.
- Appreciate that employment tribunals take the Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures - which includes recommendations about appeals against disciplinary penalties - into account when considering relevant cases.
- Be aware that the code states that employees should be given the opportunity to appeal against disciplinary decisions, that the appeal should be heard without unreasonable delay, and that the employer should inform the employee in writing of the outcome as soon as possible.
- Aim to have the appeal heard by a manager who is more senior than the one who dealt with the original disciplinary hearing.
- Be aware that workers have the statutory right to be accompanied at a disciplinary appeal hearing by a trade union official or fellow worker of their choice.
- Where the employee fails to attend the appeal hearing, investigate the reasons for this and rearrange the appeal hearing where appropriate.
- Ensure that the general rules of fairness and natural justice are applied to the appeal hearing.
- Keep records of the appeal.