For expert legal support and advice relating to a disciplinary hearing at work, call the employment law solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers on freephone 0808 175 8000 or contact us online.

We offer specialist assistance throughout the process, from preparing for disciplinary hearings to responding to the outcomes of these hearings and, where necessary, bringing related claims for discrimination or unfair dismissal. We can also negotiate the termination of your employment if required.

What can you expect before, during and after a disciplinary hearing?

Being informed that you have to attend a disciplinary hearing can be a daunting experience, particularly if you don’t know what to expect and how best to defend yourself. So that you know what’s coming, here’s a guide to what you can expect throughout the process.

Before the hearing

Your employer’s required to tell you what you are being investigated for in writing. They must also tell you about the disciplinary procedure that will be followed, and inform you of the date and time of the hearing as soon as possible. The meeting must be arranged at a reasonable time and place. You must also be told that you have a legal right to take a colleague or a trade union representative with you into the meeting. We can provide access to a Trade Union representative if you are not part of a union. For more information see our Executive Reps service.

If you have special requirements, for example if you have a disability that’ll make participating in the meeting difficult or English isn’t your first language, you’ve a right to request assistance.

At the hearing

During the hearing itself, your employer should introduce all the parties involved and explain the purpose of the meeting and how it’ll proceed. Following this, they should provide an outline of the case against you and detail any evidence they have to back this up. You should be provided with an opportunity to state your case and respond to any claims that’ve been made against you. You should also have a chance to ask questions, call witnesses and present evidence, as well as to provide an explanation for the alleged offence. In addition, you should be asked if you would like your employer to take any special circumstances into consideration.

If you’ve taken someone into the hearing to accompany you, you should be able to confer with them privately, and they should have the chance to ask questions and if you feel you would like them to, they can also address the hearing and sum up your position too. However, unless this is agreed with your employer, this person isn’t allowed to answer questions on your behalf.

After the hearing

On the basis of the information presented, your employer might decide to take no further action or they could impose a penalty. The type of penalty they can impose will depend on your contract of employment, but it may include a verbal, written or final warning, disciplinary transfer, suspension without pay, demotion, dismissal with notice or dismissal without notice. There is no requirement for your employer to issue a decision at the meeting, and so usually this comes later.

Whatever decision your employer comes to, you should be informed of it in writing. If you decide to appeal against the outcome, you can do this in accordance with the ACAS Code of Practice. Your employer should make this clear and specify the deadline for making an appeal.

How can I appeal?

If you believe that the disciplinary action your employer takes against you is unfair, you’ve the right to appeal. You may wish to challenge the way disciplinary action was taken against you (for example, if you feel your employer didn’t follow the ACAS Code), the evidence your employer cited or the decision your employer took. You might also want to challenge if you have new reasons why the disciplinary action shouldn’t be taken, or new evidence has come to light in your favour.

Your first step should be to write to your employer stating that you intend to appeal and explaining why. You should then be offered the chance to have another meeting to discuss the details of your appeal. Where possible, the appeal hearing should be conducted by someone who hasn’t been involved with your disciplinary case prior to this point.

Your appeal hearing will be similar in format to your original meeting. In line this with, you’ll have the chance to take someone in with you. Once the hearing has concluded, your employer should provide a written response outlining their final decision.

If you still disagree with the outcome, you may be able to take your case to an employment tribunal. This must be done within three months of the particular act you’re complaining about in many cases, so it’s important that you act quickly. If you’re close to the deadline for making an employment tribunal claim, don’t wait for the outcome of your appeal before taking this step.

Who can I take to a disciplinary hearing?

You’re entitled to take someone with you to disciplinary hearings and appeal hearings. This person, known as a ‘companion’, can be a colleague, trade union representative or trade union official.

At Slater and Gordon, we provide an Executive Reps service that provides our clients with a trained trade union representative to accompany them to disciplinary meetings.

How can Slater and Gordon help?

The specialist employment solicitors at Slater and Gordon are very experienced in disciplinary hearing cases and are on hand to provide information, advice and support at each stage of the process. As the No. 1 ranked employment law firm for individuals in Chambers & Partners, we have the knowledge and expertise to help you protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome.

As well as providing the highest standard of legal representation, we aim to keep costs as manageable as possible for our clients. We’ll explain our pricing options to you at the outset so that you know exactly how much our services cost.

With offices across the UK, we’re available to provide immediate assistance. Simply call us on freephone 0808 175 8000 or contact us online to find out more.