As an employer, you will at some point have to face dealing with a disciplinary situation arising from alleged misconduct on the part of one of your staff. Most employers who lose at tribunal do so not because they did not have a fair reason to dismiss but because they failed to follow a recognised fair procedure.
The Acas Code of Practice
The Acas Code of Practice in this area sets out what must be done and this can be summarised in the following basic steps:
- If you think it is a risk having the employee around whilst the investigation takes place, you may suspend him or her for no longer than is necessary.
- You must then investigate the matter by interviewing any witnesses and taking statements.
- You must then write to the employee setting out the allegations in detail and providing any supporting evidence.
- You must invite the employee to a disciplinary hearing at which they may be accompanied by a trade union representative or colleague.
- You must then hold the meeting and ensure that notes are taken. You must then write to the employee setting out the action which is taken whether this amounts to a written warning or indeed dismissal.
- Finally, the employee must be offered a right of appeal and this should be to somebody who is more senior and who has not been involved already.