Disciplinary actions

The Acas Code of Practice stresses that most disputes can be resolved informally and that usually a quiet word is all that is required.

If it is necessary to move onto a more formal level and follow a discipline or grievance process, then the Code says the process must be fair and sets out the following requirements:

• employers and employees should raise and deal with issues promptly and should not unreasonably delay meetings, decisions or confirmation of those decisions

• employers and employees should act consistently

• employers should carry out any necessary investigations to establish the facts of the case

• employers should inform employees of the basis of the problem and give them an opportunity to put their case in response before any decisions are made

• employers should allow employees to be accompanied at any formal disciplinary or grievance meeting

• employers should allow an employee to appeal against any formal decision made.

The Code suggests that an initial investigatory meeting may be appropriate to help the employer gather evidence – but that no disciplinary action should be taken at this point. However, if you hold ! such an ‘informal’ meeting it is important that you keep some form of chain of correspondence (emails are sufficient) which proves that you have acted fairly, promptly and kept the employee informed.

Acas also provides a helpline: 08457 47 47 47 from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm on Saturday.