What to expect at the disciplinary hearing?
Your employer should inform you in writing of the details of the allegations against you, this will include the date, time and place of the meeting. You should also be provided with all the information from the disciplinary investigation and all the evidence that will be used during the disciplinary hearing, including any witness statements.
In line with the ACAS code of practice, you will have the right to call witnesses to ask questions in order to support your case or to challenge and dispute what has been stated. You will need to make the reasonable request in writing to your employer before the hearing as well as requesting any other relevant evidence, which is not in your possession.
We can certainly help with writing the letter to make this request. For a free, no obligation telephone consultation contact us or fill out the call back request and we will be happy to arrange for an advisor to discuss your situation.
You have a statutory right to be accompanied at the disciplinary meeting by a trade union representative or a work colleague. We can certainly provide you with a professional trade union representative, if you do not have anyone to accompany you to the disciplinary hearing.
If you have any type of special requirements i.e. if English is not your first language or you have a disability, you can request to have assistance, i.e. the employer can get a translator or even a sign language interpreter to be present at the hearing.
At the hearing:
The disciplinary hearing should be a two-way process:
The employer should introduce those that are present and explain the purpose of the hearing, everyone’s role at the hearing and how it will be conducted.
The employer should outline briefly the case and allegations against you and go through all of the evidence they have gathered from the investigation. They will normally have some questions around the allegations and the evidence collected from the disciplinary investigation process.
You should be given the opportunity to state your case and answer any allegations that have been made against you.
You should be able to ask questions, present evidence and call any witnesses as above.
If you have a trade union representative or work colleague with you, they should be able to ask questions, you should also be allowed to confer privately with them.
The person accompanying you should be allowed to address the chair of the meeting, they are not allowed to answer questions on your behalf, and the only way this can happen is if the employer has agreed this.
You should be given the opportunity to provide an explanation for the alleged offence.
You should also be asked if there are any special circumstances or mitigation that you think the employer needs to take into account.
Your employer should provide you with minutes from the meeting of what was said in relation to the allegations. The minutes will not normally be verbatim but it is so important that they do reflect what you said and you should not sign them unless you are happy with the contents of the minutes. Should you not be happy with the minutes produced, make the necessary changes to confirm your responses to the questions put to you, your trade union representative will be able to help you with this, if you are accompanied.
After the hearing:
The employer should adjourn the disciplinary hearing before a decision is made, the length of adjournment will depend on the allegations and the evidence presented at the disciplinary hearing.
They may choose to take no further action or impose a disciplinary sanction. The kind of sanction that can be imposed will depend on what is contained in your contract and the allegations against you.
These options can include:
- Verbal warning
- Written warning
- Final written warning
- Disciplinary transfer
- Disciplinary suspension without pay
- Loss of seniority
- Dismissal with notice
- Dismissal without notice
You will be informed once the decision is made writing.
Appealing the decision
You should be offered the opportunity to appeal against the outcome of the disciplinary hearing, this is according to the ACAS Code of practice, your employer should inform you of your options.
The appeal should be dealt with by a manager who has not been involved in the case.
You are also entitled to be accompanied at an appeal hearing by a work colleague or a trade union representative.
As with a disciplinary hearing your employer should write to you with the decision on the appeal as soon as possible.