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Employers will need to follow a correct dismissal and disciplinary process called the ACAS Code of Practice if they want to avoid a claim for unfair dismissal. Minor conduct issues can often be resolved informally between you and your employer.
The disciplinary process should be dealt with in a matter of weeks but there can be unforeseen delays due to you or a manager not being available. More complex or difficult cases (for example, where fraud or a criminal offence is alleged) will inevitably take longer.
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If you have been asked to attend a disciplinary investigation then we can help you respond and prepare to give you the best chance of getting the outcome you want. We know how stressful being involved in an investigation and disciplinary hearing can be - especially if you think you are not to blame and your job is on the line.
A record will be kept on your personnel file but informal warnings ought to be ignored if there is a formal disciplinary hearing for something different later on.
If the allegations are more serious, your employer may look to follow a formal disciplinary route and require you to attend a disciplinary hearing. You have a general right to be accompanied at the disciplinary hearing by a work colleague or union official if you are a member. You should be given a reasonable amount of time to prepare.
After the meeting your employer should inform you in writing if action is to be taken. You have the right to appeal against any disciplinary action taken.
Where someone raises a grievance during a disciplinary process, the disciplinary may be temporarily suspended to deal with the grievance. Where the grievance and disciplinary cases are related, however, it may be appropriate to deal with both issues concurrently, and many employers opt for this to save time.
A dismissal will not necessarily be unfair if an employer does not put disciplinary proceedings on hold to deal with a grievance. Each case will depend on its particular facts and an employer will have to show that not suspending the disciplinary process to investigate a grievance was a fair and reasonable thing to do.
If your employer has not followed a correct process, you may have a claim for unfair dismissal.
Yes, you can. It is not uncommon to consider resigning when you are facing disciplinary allegations, but this is a very tactical situation and one that you should take legal advice on before you make any decision.
The benefits of resigning on the face of it are clear. You would be able to avoid having a dismissal on your personnel record, because you resigned first. However, such a knee jerk reaction could be seen to be evidence of your guilt. At the same time, it could weaken any subsequent employment tribunal claim you wish to make, and could also negatively affect your job reference.
When obtaining disciplinary advice, there are a number of different funding methods available for our work. To find out more information about funding methods available, click here.
Our specialist employment team have expertise in all areas of employment law. These areas include Disciplinary Actions and Grievance Investigations.
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