Every employer must, by law, ensure that there is a fair and reasonable procedure for managing disciplinary issues.
Every employer should have a policy for dealing with disciplinary matters as well as raising grievances and must set out where employees can find that policy in their contract of employment, though the policy itself should not be contractual.
Having a clear disciplinary procedure in place will benefit both you, the employer and your employees, so that everyone is clear about what is and is not acceptable in the workplace, how disciplinary matters will be handled, and how to raise a grievance.
To be honest, practice makes perfect with these procedures. The more you do them the better you will be at them. So, don’t just ignore any issues that are affecting your business or your workforce, deal with them as they arise. We can provide policies for you and help you through the process.
Do we really need a written disciplinary procedure?
Having a written procedure, which you can easily follow, will lessen the risk of acting unreasonably and if you did end up defending a claim at tribunal, you are likely to be criticised if you don’t have one and could be found to have unfairly dismissed an employee. We advise that a disciplinary and grievance procedure is essential to any employer.
Do I have to follow the ACAS code of practice?
You do not have to follow the ACAS code of practice by law, but if you fail to do so and a tribunal finds that you unfairly dismissed an employee, they would be entitled to an increase of up to 25% of any award made. Essentially following the ACAS code of practice means that you are acting reasonably. Our policies include the provisions of the ACAS code of practice.
Can we suspend an employee pending disciplinary action?
Yes, but it must be on full pay and should only be done if there is a need to do so, for example they are likely to intimidate other employees or interfere with your business to its detriment if they were to remain on the premises while the investigation took place. You must ensure that the employee understands that suspension in these circumstances does not mean that a disciplinary sanction has been decided upon at this stage.