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Disciplinary procedure
January 7, 2014


Employers are required to follow the Acas Code of Practice 2009 in disciplinary situations.

Why is it important to follow the Acas Code?

It can avoid a finding of unfair dismissal

The Acas Code was introduced to help businesses and employees deal effectively with issues of alleged misconduct or poor performance. An employment tribunal will consider whether the business has followed a fair procedure, and must take the Acas Code into account when considering whether an employer has acted reasonably or not.

It can affect the level of compensation

  • If the business unreasonably failed to follow the Code, the employment tribunal may increase the employee’s compensation by up to 25%.
  • If the employee unreasonably failed to follow the Code, the employment tribunal may reduce their compensation by up to 25%.

How should misconduct or poor performance be handled?

  1. Investigate the issues
  2. Inform the employee of the issues in writing
  3. There must be a disciplinary meeting or hearing
  4. Inform the employee of the decision in writing
  5. The employee has a right of appeal

Practical steps for businesses to take to improve their disciplinary procedures

  • Make sure the procedures are transparent and accessible to employees.
  • Encourage managers to manage conduct and performance issues quickly and informally before they get to a formal disciplinary stage.
  • Investigate issues thoroughly. Even if the employee has attended an investigatory interview, always hold a disciplinary hearing once all the evidence is available, and allow the employee to put their side of the story before making any decision.
  • Keep written records, including minutes of meetings.
  • Communicate decisions effectively and promptly, setting out reasons.

Please contact Jennifer White on 020 8313 1300 or by email  jennifer.white@marsons.co.uk or if you have any queries or need advice on a specific issue raised in this article.

The information contained in this article is intended for general guidance only. It provides useful information but it is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice as the articles do not take into account specific circumstances. So do please Contact US for legal advice on the issues raised.