Disciplinaries and Dismissals
- advice for employees

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Patch Law

Station Road Workshops
Station Road
Kingswood
Bristol
BS15 4PJ

Patch Law is a law firm authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under SRA number 572782.

Disciplinaries
and Dismissals

- advice for employees

Are you facing a disciplinary hearing?

This is most likely to respond to misconduct allegations, but can also be due to concerns about your performance or because of your absence from work.

Whatever the reason, the prospect of losing your job is worrying and distressing, and it is important to get swift expert advice on handling the process.


You have given me a glimmer of hope in what seems a very black hole. You are like my guardian angel! You have given me the strength to keep going with this whole horrible situation.
Teacher
Dorset

Misconduct

It may be reasonable for your employer to suspend you on full pay, depending on the nature and seriousness of the allegations and to enable a full investigation to take place. You may be required to have an investigation meeting: this may happen before or after any suspension. The employer is not obliged to give advance notice or this or provide full information, documents or other evidence at this stage.

If your employer decides that there is a case to answer, and assuming your employer is complying with the ACAS Code of Practice (and it should!), then you will receive a letter prior to a Disciplinary Hearing setting out the allegations against you. They should also supply the evidence that will be relied on and letting you know the possible outcome of the hearing, for example a particular level of warning or dismissal, depending on the seriousness of the allegations and whether you already have unexpired warnings on your file.

The most serious allegations may be regarded as ‘Gross misconduct’.  This may result in summary dismissal (termination of your employment without notice), but this should only happen after a hearing at which you have had an opportunity to understand the allegations and evidence and to state your case.

Performance

Your employer may think you are not doing your job well enough. Depending on the employer, this may be dealt with under the disciplinary procedure or a performance management or capability procedure. Disciplinary ‘warnings’ are sometimes called ‘cautions’ in a performance procedure. The employer’s complaints about inadequate performance may or may not be justified, and may depend on whether you have received sufficient training, and whether you have sufficient resources and support to fulfil your duties, some of which may not be within your control.


Gillian immediately grasped the details of my situation and advised me accordingly, even though I was feeling rather stressed and therefore unable to express myself very coherently at a difficult time. Extremely prompt communications and excellent value for money. I have already recommended Patch Law to a friend for their excellent service.
Head of Policy
South Gloucestershire

Absence

Sickness absence, whether several short absences or a longer term single period of absence, may trigger a formal meeting under the employer’s attendance/absence management procedure.  A few employers use their disciplinary procedure, although recognising that sickness absence, unlike misconduct, is not an employee’s fault.

Nonetheless, ‘capability’ (which includes ill health as well as performance) is a potentially fair reason for dismissal.  A long term condition may be regarded as a disability, triggering the employer’s ‘duty to make reasonable adjustments’ under the Equality Act 2010.  

  • It is nearly always a good idea to take someone with you to a formal meeting which may result in a warning or termination of your employment.  
  • You have a statutory right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or a work colleague.  In certain circumstances your employer may extend this to a family member or friend (but very unlikely a solicitor!).
  • It can be very useful to have someone present during the meeting – as well as being a companion to support you, you should ask them to take notes for you and they may also be able to act as a witness if required in the future.

What can you do to protect your position?

  • Prepare thoroughly by:

    • Obtaining and reading the disciplinary procedure,
    • carefully reading the allegations in the letter, and 
    • looking at the evidence your employer provides;
  • Consider whether there are any witnesses or other evidence that you think your employer should take into account;
  • Attend the hearing, taking in a prepared written statement (this avoids important points being forgotten or left out of the notes);
  • Take a companion;
  • Appeal if you believe you have been unfairly sanctioned or dismissed.

The advice I received was very clear and simple to understand, but more importantly, honest and frank, allowing me to understand clearly my position. Gillian was excellent from start to finish and extremely personable to deal with, but also clearly very experienced which gave me confidence throughout the process that she was always acting with my best intentions and position at heart. Thanks for all your help. You have been brilliant.
Operations Manager
Bristol

How can we help?

Our experienced solicitors are well-placed to advise you on your particular circumstances.  We will give you honest, impartial advice about your situation, including letting you know at an early stage as to the strength or weakness of your position. 

If there is time, taking advice from us as soon as you know that you will be facing a disciplinary hearing can be very beneficial , so that you can be best equipped to prepare and deal with the hearing.

We can help you:

  • Understand your employer’s Disciplinary or other formal procedure (e.g. capability, attendance management);
  • Draft statements for hearings;
  • Navigate through the Disciplinary process, including the Hearing;

 

  • Appeal – including drafting appeal letters and statements, and tips on how to handle the Appeal Hearing;
  • Initiate or Respond to ‘Without Prejudice’ settlement proposals and negotiations;
  • Decide whether to issue proceedings in the Employment Tribunal.  Strict time limits apply to such claims.


If you have already been dismissed, you may have one or more claims that you can take to an Employment Tribunal, including Unfair Dismissal, and we can advise you on the merits of these and how to take the matter forward.

Many new employee clients take advantage of our Initial Advice service for quick, pragmatic and cost-effective advice.

For immediate employment law advice please either call us on 0117 290 0905 or complete a Free Online Enquiry and we will soon be in touch with you.

Get in touch

If you need help with an employment law issue then please don't hesitate to contact us. An initial enquiry is free and without obligation.

Call us on 0117 290 0905 or fill out the form below and we will contact you within 24 hours.

When your form is submitted you will receive an automatic email from Patch Law confirming receipt.

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Disciplinaries
and Dismissals
- advice for
employees

Are you facing a disciplinary hearing?

This is most likely to respond to misconduct allegations, but can also be due to concerns about your performance or because of your absence from work.

Whatever the reason, the prospect of losing your job is worrying and distressing, and it is important to get swift expert advice on handling the process.


You have given me a glimmer of hope in what seems a very black hole. You are like my guardian angel! You have given me the strength to keep going with this whole horrible situation.
Teacher
Dorset

Misconduct

It may be reasonable for your employer to suspend you on full pay, depending on the nature and seriousness of the allegations and to enable a full investigation to take place. You may be required to have an investigation meeting: this may happen before or after any suspension. The employer is not obliged to give advance notice or this or provide full information, documents or other evidence at this stage.

If your employer decides that there is a case to answer, and assuming your employer is complying with the ACAS Code of Practice (and it should!), then you will receive a letter prior to a Disciplinary Hearing setting out the allegations against you. They should also supply the evidence that will be relied on and letting you know the possible outcome of the hearing, for example a particular level of warning or dismissal, depending on the seriousness of the allegations and whether you already have unexpired warnings on your file.

The most serious allegations may be regarded as ‘Gross misconduct’.  This may result in summary dismissal (termination of your employment without notice), but this should only happen after a hearing at which you have had an opportunity to understand the allegations and evidence and to state your case.

Performance

Your employer may think you are not doing your job well enough. Depending on the employer, this may be dealt with under the disciplinary procedure or a performance management or capability procedure. Disciplinary ‘warnings’ are sometimes called ‘cautions’ in a performance procedure. The employer’s complaints about inadequate performance may or may not be justified, and may depend on whether you have received sufficient training, and whether you have sufficient resources and support to fulfil your duties, some of which may not be within your control.


Gillian immediately grasped the details of my situation and advised me accordingly, even though I was feeling rather stressed and therefore unable to express myself very coherently at a difficult time. Extremely prompt communications and excellent value for money. I have already recommended Patch Law to a friend for their excellent service.
Head of Policy
South Gloucestershire

Absence

Sickness absence, whether several short absences or a longer term single period of absence, may trigger a formal meeting under the employer’s attendance/absence management procedure.  A few employers use their disciplinary procedure, although recognising that sickness absence, unlike misconduct, is not an employee’s fault.

Nonetheless, ‘capability’ (which includes ill health as well as performance) is a potentially fair reason for dismissal.  A long term condition may be regarded as a disability, triggering the employer’s ‘duty to make reasonable adjustments’ under the Equality Act 2010.  

  • It is nearly always a good idea to take someone with you to a formal meeting which may result in a warning or termination of your employment. 
  • You have a statutory right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or a work colleague.  In certain circumstances your employer may extend this to a family member or friend (but very unlikely a solicitor!).
  • It can be very useful to have someone present during the meeting – as well as being a companion to support you, you should ask them to take notes for you and they may also be able to act as a witness if required in the future.

What can you do to protect your position?

  • Prepare thoroughly by:

    • Obtaining and reading the disciplinary procedure,
    • carefully reading the allegations in the letter, and 
    • looking at the evidence your employer provides;
  • Consider whether there are any witnesses or other evidence that you think your employer should take into account;
  • Attend the hearing, taking in a prepared written statement (this avoids important points being forgotten or left out of the notes);
  • Take a companion;
  • Appeal if you believe you have been unfairly sanctioned or dismissed.

The advice I received was very clear and simple to understand, but more importantly, honest and frank, allowing me to understand clearly my position. Gillian was excellent from start to finish and extremely personable to deal with, but also clearly very experienced which gave me confidence throughout the process that she was always acting with my best intentions and position at heart. Thanks for all your help. You have been brilliant.
Operations Manager
Bristol

How can we help?

Our experienced solicitors are well-placed to advise you on your particular circumstances.  We will give you honest, impartial advice about your situation, including letting you know at an early stage as to the strength or weakness of your position. 

If there is time, taking advice from us as soon as you know that you will be facing a disciplinary hearing can be very beneficial , so that you can be best equipped to prepare and deal with the hearing.

We can help you:

  • Understand your employer’s Disciplinary or other formal procedure (e.g. capability, attendance management);
  • Draft statements for hearings;
  • Navigate through the Disciplinary process, including the Hearing;
  • Appeal – including drafting appeal letters and statements, and tips on how to handle the Appeal Hearing;
  • Initiate or Respond to ‘Without Prejudice’ settlement proposals and negotiations;
  • Decide whether to issue proceedings in the Employment Tribunal.  Strict time limits apply to such claims.


If you have already been dismissed, you may have one or more claims that you can take to an Employment Tribunal, including Unfair Dismissal, and we can advise you on the merits of these and how to take the matter forward.

Many new employee clients take advantage of our Initial Advice service for quick, pragmatic and cost-effective advice.

To find out more about how we help you if you are unhappy with your treatment at work, get in touch today.