Being required to attend a disciplinary meeting at work is difficult and stressful. At Lincs Law Employment Solicitors, we want to help. We set out some guidance below which we hope will assist you. However, nothing beats discussing your personal situation with a fully qualified Employment Solicitor. If you would like a no obligation, free consultation, just fill out a contact form, engage in a web chat, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01522 440512
Defending Disciplinary Allegations
Employees worried about losing their jobs because they are accused of misconduct or gross misconduct often find the whole disciplinary process very difficult. There is additional stress in that what you do and say as part of the disciplinary process to defend yourself (including the disciplinary investigation meeting) has ramifications for your employment and for any Employment Tribunal claim you may have in the future.
After over 25 years’ advising clients in disciplinary situations, I know that the first meetings in the disciplinary investigation process are crucial. For most clients, the claim they will bring if they are dismissed is a claim for unfair dismissal at the Employment Tribunal. However, what clients often don’t appreciate is that in considering these types of claims, the Employment Tribunal are not really concerned about whether the employee did or did not commit the acts of misconduct. At the hearing, their focus is actually on what information the employer had when they decided to dismiss. This seems like semantics, but it is incredibly important. So many clients start the process of finding evidence to prove their innocence or support their defence after they have been dismissed. Whilst such evidence is always helpful, the time to gather and produce this information is during the disciplinary process.
Obviously, everyone’s circumstances will be different. I would always advise someone who is subject to disciplinary action to seek legal advice as soon as possible. Obviously, I would hope they would contact us at Lincs Law Employment Solicitors. However, if you are defending yourself, there are some common rules you should follow and questions you should be asking if you are subject to a disciplinary for misconduct or gross misconduct allegations:
What Is The Disciplinary Procedure?
If your employer has their own policy for disciplinary matters, make sure they follow it! In addition, they should abide by the ACAS Code of Practice on Discipline and Grievance which can be found on the ACAS website.
What Are The Disciplinary Allegations?
Make sure you understand what you are supposed to have done and when you are supposed to have done it. Also, make sure your employer has explained why they believe these are matters of misconduct, ideally referring you to some relevant policy or written instruction.
Do You Know How Serious The Disciplinary Allegations Are?
Ask your employer whether you are at risk of dismissal – you need to know what is at stake before you attend any disciplinary meeting. If your employer considers the allegations against you to be gross misconduct, then you are at risk of summary (immediate) dismissal.
Have You Prepared Your Case As Well As You Can?
Make sure you prepare a written statement for the disciplinary meeting. It is always better to gather your thoughts and be able to take your time drafting your statement at home, rather than try and remember everything you want to say under pressure at the disciplinary meeting. Gather as much evidence and information as you can in support of your version of events. If you don’t have access to the documents you need, ask your employer for them. Also, if you can, get character references and add these to your evidence.
For more information about how to prepare your disciplinary statement, please visit our website at https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/preparing-for-a-disciplinary-meeting/
Can You Attend The Disciplinary Meeting?
It is always better to attend and take a colleague or Trade Union Adviser with you. You should also ask to record the meeting to avoid any dispute at a later date about what was said. Make sure you submit your written statement and your evidence to the meeting (and that your employer records your doing so).
Can You Appeal?
If you disagree with the outcome of your disciplinary you should appeal. If you don’t appeal, any decision will be part of your personnel record and these decisions cannot be challenged months later. In addition, if you are dismissed and your claim is determined by an Employment Tribunal, they will expect you to have exhausted all internal appeals and can reduce any compensation if you have failed to do so.
For more information about what to include in your appeal, please visit our website at https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/preparing-for-a-disciplinary-meeting/
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors Can Help
I have helped hundreds of clients defend workplace disciplinary action and pursue their claims at the Employment Tribunal. If I can help you, please, fill out a contact form, engage in a web chat, email email@example.com or call us on 01522 440512 for a no obligation free consultation. Alternatively, for more information please visit our website at https://lincslaw.co.uk/services/employees/resignation-dismissal-and-redundancy/unfair-dismissal/
Please get in touch. My colleagues and I want to help, just as we helped the clients below who kindly gave us the following reviews:
Review from Coronavirus Health and Safety and Unfair Dismissal client for Sally Hubbard, Managing Director, Specialist Employment Solicitor
“I contacted Sally after my unlawful disciplinary and dismissal. I had no contract, no holiday entitlement, and my employer had acted in contravention of government advice regarding coronavirus. She helped me reach an agreement and settlement through ACAS. This is the second time that I have needed Sally’s services. Need I say more, I would not use anyone else”.
Review from Wrongful and Unfair Dismissal client for Sophie Goodwill, Director, Specialist Employment Solicitor
“I lost my job and needed help in fighting against what I believed was a case of Wrongful Dismissal. Sophie spoke to me clearly and was so understanding of my position. She took the time to go through the procedure and always kept me informed of the progress of the case. She was incredibly efficient and always in my corner. I could not fault the service I received.”
Specialist Employment Law Solicitor
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors, Lincoln