Disciplinary Hearings

Disciplinary Hearings – Guidance on What to Do

Grievance and Disciplinary Hearings

Grievance and Disciplinary Hearings Employment Law

The prospect of disciplinary action being against you is not pleasant.  We have put together some information which you should consider when faced with this situation.

I have received a letter inviting me to a disciplinary hearing

If you have been invited to attend a disciplinary meeting or ‘hearing’ by your employer, the first thing you should not do is panic.

The disciplinary meeting is likely to have been called for one of the following reasons:-

  • Performance issues – i.e. your employer has expressed concerns about your capability to do your job.
  • Conduct – there may be an allegation of misconduct, i.e. something you are alleged to have done, for example a complaint by another member of staff or a customer.
  • Concerns over absence and/or punctuality. 

Do I need legal assistance to prepare for the hearing?

Not necessarily, but you do need to ensure that you prepare your case as thoroughly as possible in advance of the meeting.  As you will not be entitled to claim your legal costs from your employer if you pay privately for a solicitor, it is always worth checking first to find out whether you have legal expense insurance (LEI) as insurers often provide a free legal advice helpline.   Trade Unions are also able to provide advice and assistance and ACAS is a free resource www.acas.org.uk.  

Should you wish to obtain legal advice contact us for details of our costs click here to complete our Employment Law Enquiry Form.   

What can I do to prepare for the disciplinary meeting?

  • Check your employer’s letter

The letter inviting you to the disciplinary meeting should be very clear about what the issue is and why you have been asked to go to the meeting.  Your employer should provide details of any evidence they have.  If not, you should request it.  The letter should state clearly details of the venue and the time and date of the meeting.  The letter must set out what the possible sanctions are in the event that your employer decides to impose a sanction.  These can range from a first or final warning or demotion through to dismissal.

  • Check your employer’s disciplinary policy

It is crucial to obtain a copy of your employer’s disciplinary policy and check that they are complying with it.  Failure by your employer to follow its own disciplinary procedures can lead to a finding of unfair dismissal. 

  • Arrange to take someone with you to the meeting

You are legally entitled to take along a colleague or a trade union representative to the disciplinary meeting (but not an investigatory meeting), however, if you are unable to take a colleague or trade union representative you can request a friend or relative goes with you for support, although the employer may not agree.

If you are disabled and you feel that by not having a friend or colleague with you would put you at a disadvantage you should notify your employer in writing.  A note from your GP to send to your employer is also advisable.  Your employer has a duty in these circumstances to make reasonable adjustments for you.

If your companion cannot make it on that particular day, ask for the meeting to be rescheduled.   

Unfortunately, you are not generally permitted to take along a lawyer.

  • Prepare your case

You should also be given a reasonable amount of time to prepare for the hearing and a fair opportunity to present your case.  If you need more time to prepare ask for it.

If you have evidence which supports your case, then you should produce it at the meeting.  If you have witnesses (e.g. colleagues) who are prepared to give evidence on your behalf, then ask them if they would be prepared to sign witness statements for you to produce at the meeting.     

Prepare notes of what you want to say, in advance of the hearing, to ensure that you do not overlook any of the points you wish to make. 

  • The disciplinary hearing

At the disciplinary hearing you will be presented with the allegations and the evidence and will be given the opportunity to tell your side of the story.

If unforeseen problems occur which mean that you cannot attend the meeting contact your employer immediately as otherwise they can proceed with the meeting in your absence. 

If you need to take a break during the meeting, ask your employer.   This can be a good opportunity for you to consult with your companion, review what has been said and consider whether you have missed anything or need to clarify or expand upon any points.  

After the meeting your employer will decide what action (if any) should be taken.  They will usually inform you of the outcome by letter. 

  • Appealing your employer’s decision

You will be given the right to appeal any decision made against you.  The timescales for appeal should be set out in your employer’s disciplinary policy and also confirmed in the outcome letter.

  • What if I am dismissed, and my appeal is rejected?

If you are dismissed, and the claims bought against you are false or if you feel that the punishment is harsh for the offence, or the investigation conducted by your employer was unfair then contact us.   You may be able to bring a claim for unfair dismissal. 

We will be able to advise you about bringing an unfair dismissal case and provide you with an estimate of costs.  Whilst unfortunately we are unable to take unfair dismissal cases on a no win no fee basis we will try to help you in exploring other ways in which your case can be progressed.   

Contact DSM Legal Solicitors for an assessment of your unfair dismissal claim today

Telephone one of our expert solicitors on 01925 937070 or click here to complete our Employment Law Enquiry Form.   

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