Discipline and grievance hearing

Key points

  • Employees have the right to be accompanied at both discipline and grievance meetings.
  • Employees have the right to appeal against the outcome of meetings.
  • Meetings should be held without unreasonable delay.
  • Issues should be dealt with fairly and consistently.

Holding a disciplinary meeting

The meeting should be held without unreasonable delay whilst allowing the employee reasonable time to prepare for the meeting.  At the meeting the employer should explain the complaint against the employee and go through the evidence that has been gathered. The employee should be allowed to answer any allegations that have been made, they should be given reasonable opportunity to ask questions, present evidence and call any relevant witnesses. Where the employer or employee has called witnesses they should give advance notice that they intend to do this.

Holding a grievance meeting

A grievance meeting deals with any grievance raised by an employee. Employers should arrange for a formal meeting to be held without unreasonable delay after a grievance is received. Employers, employees and their companions should make every effort to attend the meeting. Employees should be allowed to explain their grievance and how they think it should be resolved. Consideration should be given to adjourning the meeting for any investigation that may be necessary. Tell the employee when they might reasonably expect to receive a response if one cannot be made at the time.

Allowing the employee to be accompanied

Employees are entitled to be accompanied at most disciplinary and grievance hearings by a fellow worker or a trade union official of their choice, provided they make a reasonable request to be accompanied. Workers have the right to take paid time off during working hours to accompany fellow workers employed by the same employer to most disciplinary and grievance hearings.

Appeal meetings

When an employee feels that disciplinary action taken against them is wrong or unjust they may appeal against the decision. Appeals may be made on various grounds, including new evidence, undue severity or inconsistency of the penalty. Employees may also request to have an appeal meeting if they feel a grievance has not been satisfactorily resolved.

Appeals should be heard without unreasonable delay and ideally at an agreed time and place. Employees should put their appeal in writing to the employer. The appeal should be dealt with impartially and ideally, wherever possible with a manager who was not previously involved in the disciplinary meeting.

Workers have a statutory right to be accompanied at an appeals hearing. The companion may be a fellow worker or a trade union representative or an official employed by a trade union. The worker must make a reasonable request to the employer to be accompanied.

Acas further information and support

Acas Discipline and Grievance - e-learning Module

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