KNOWLEDGE CENTRE

The importance of the right of appeal in a disciplinary

The importance of the right of appeal in a disciplinary

December 14, 2023

In the realm of employment in the UK, the concept of fairness and justice plays a crucial role, especially when it comes to disciplinary actions and grievances. The appeal against a disciplinary outcome is central to this concept.

The right to an appeal is embedded in the Acas Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures, and ensures that employees have the opportunity to challenge decisions they believe are unjust, overly severe, or founded on flawed procedures.

So what does an appeal achieve?

First and foremost, the appeal process allows an employee to raise concerns if they feel the disciplinary outcome is disproportionately harsh, or if the grievance outcome seems incorrect.

When an appeal is raised, the employer will invite the employee to attend an appeal hearing to verbalise their appeal and state the grounds for the appeal. This meeting will be a formal meeting and the employee will be given the right to be accompanied by a work colleague or trade union representative. Following the appeal being considered, the employer will write to the employee with an outcome on their appeal, specifically whether it is upheld or rejected and if rejected whether the original decision stands.

Forgetting to give the right to appeal breaches the Acas Code which explicitly states that employees should be given the opportunity to appeal disciplinary or grievance outcomes. Failure to provide this right can have serious consequences for employers, particularly if the case escalates to an employment tribunal. In such scenarios, an employer’s neglect to offer an appeal could be viewed unfavourably.

The importance of a Disciplinary Policy

Whilst employers aren’t doing anything illegal in not having a disciplinary policy, if they don’t they will need to show they have followed the ACAS Code of Practice. These have been around since 2009 so there can be no excuse that the employer wasn’t aware of its existence.

If you need any assistance with your Disciplinary Policy in 2024, do give us a call on 01527 909436. We have a workshop coming up in February which will be about Handling Disciplinaries and this will be also held virtually in April.

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