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Employee Disciplinary Proceedings

Helping you save your job - for us it's personal

If you are an employee facing serious disciplinary allegations our employment law solicitors can help you convincingly explain and present your defence to minimise the risk of you ending up with a disciplinary warning or from being dismissed.

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For many employees being invited to attend a disciplinary hearing proves to be a stressful and upsetting experience, more so if the allegations are misplaced or have little or no merit. Using our specialist knowledge and expertise we can ensure your defence is suitably prepared and argued keeping your stress or upset to a minimum.

Acting for you

We are flexible in how much advice and support we provide; you can instruct us to do as much or as little work on your case as you choose. Typically, you may need help with all or some of the following:

Disciplinary advice and guidance

Our key objective is to give you the knowledge and confidence to protect your best interests during the disciplinary process.

You can discuss with one of our specialist disciplinary solicitors the merits of the allegations being made against you; we will explain your realistic options and suggest how best to react to your employer’s case against you.

Throughout your case, you can benefit from our practical experience and tactical guidance so you can be sure you are doing everything you should to save your job.

Your disciplinary hearing case preparation

If you have to attend a disciplinary hearing it’s essential that you have fully and carefully prepared your defence and representations. We can help you, for example, by drafting your witness statements and written representations, and compiling your bundle of supporting documents, if one is required. Tactically you may also need us to write to your employer to make representations on your behalf.

We can make sure you are happy about what to expect and how to conduct yourself at your disciplinary hearing, including helping you challenge your employer’s evidence.

Your employer’s disciplinary decision

If you are disciplined or dismissed we can review what has happened and advise you about your right to appeal and, if relevant, the merits of bringing a related employment tribunal or court claim.

Appealing against a disciplinary decision

You may need to appeal against the outcome of your disciplinary hearing. If so, we can help you do this so that your legal position is preserved and not inadvertently harmed.

Settlement negotiations

At any stage of your disciplinary procedure it is possible that you or your employer may seek to negotiate a settlement; we will be able to conduct these negotiations for you.

Questions and answers

What is gross misconduct?

Gross misconduct is the term used to describe the most serious misconduct. Examples include, theft, fighting, gross insubordination, serious misuse of social media or gross negligence.  Gross misconduct is where the employee’s conduct is so serious it goes to the root of the contract and entitles the employer to dismiss summarily i.e. with no notice or pay in lieu of notice. The conduct must be deliberate and wilful.

What is the difference between a grievance and a disciplinary procedure?

A grievance is a dispute or concern about a work place issue that is raised by an employee. A disciplinary complaint is made by the employer and it relates to an employee’s conduct at work, for example: being late for work or not working to the required standards. A grievance procedure will be different to a disciplinary procedure; both should be set out in the employer’s employee handbook or HR intranet.

Is a capability procedure the same as a disciplinary procedure?

It can be. A disciplinary procedure can cover both misconduct offences and work performance or capability issues, including ill health absences. However, increasingly HR best practice is for employers to have separate procedures to deal with disciplinary allegations and capability concerns. In practice, if your employer judges your work underperformance is a result of your poor attitude or approach to work it will most likely treat it as a disciplinary matter. If your underperformance is caused by factors outside of your control then your employer will follow its capability procedure.

Can my employer suspend me from work whilst it investigates my conduct?

Yes, provided there is a contractual right to suspend you included in your contract of employment and the matter under investigation is a serious one. If not, your employer may not be able to suspend you from work unless you agree. In any event in all cases your suspension must be on full basic pay. Your holiday entitlement will continue to accrue. The length of your suspension should be reasonable.

At my disciplinary hearing who can accompany me?

You have the right to request to be accompanied by a fellow work colleague or an appropriate trade union official. Your employer should remind you of this right and must not unreasonably refuse your request. Sometimes your employer will be justified in asking you to be accompanied by a different person if your first choice creates a conflict of interest.

Unless your employer’s policy and procedures allow, or your employer agrees, you don’t have the right to be accompanied by a friend, family member or solicitor. Most employers tend to adopt a flexible approach and will allow an employee to be accompanied by a friend or other person if there is not a suitable work colleague or trade union person.

For a disabled employee, sometimes it can be a reasonable adjustment for the employer to allow the employee to be accompanied by a friend or other person, for example his or her spouse or partner.

In almost all cases employers will not allow you to be accompanied by your solicitor.

My employer has accused me of theft but he has not carried out an investigation. Should he have?

Yes, before holding a disciplinary hearing your employer must carry out an investigation into what has happened and share with you its findings and evidence relied upon. The scope of the investigation will vary according to the facts of each case. For example, where the employee has admitted the theft the employer does not have to do much further investigating. Where there is only a suspicion about an employee then the employer has to conduct a much more detailed and through investigation.

The letter inviting me to a disciplinary hearing is quite vague. Can I ask my employer to give me more details about the allegations being made against me?

Yes, to enable you to properly prepare for the disciplinary hearing you are entitled to know the allegations being made against you in sufficient detail so that you are not left in any doubt about the case you have to answer.

For example, if you are being accused of making sexist remarks to a work colleague, you should expect to be told the dates of each remark and the gist of what you are alleged to have said and to whom.

What is likely to happen at my disciplinary hearing?

Employers have a wide discretion about how to conduct a disciplinary hearing. However, your employer has to follow a fair procedure that incorporates the Acas Code of Practice. Most employers will have a disciplinary policy and procedure that they will follow.

For more details about what should happen at a disciplinary hearing click here for our Briefing Note.

I have been dismissed. Do I have a right of appeal?

Yes, but you must observe any time limits for appealing set out in your employer’s disciplinary policy and procedure. If you dispute the fairness of your dismissal in almost all cases you should appeal. If you don’t it is possible that the value of any compensation awarded by the employment tribunal could be reduced by up to 25 per cent.

Should my employer give me more time to prepare my defence before the disciplinary hearing?

Possibly; it depends on why you want more time and if your case is potentially complicated or may result in you losing your job. If you want more time you should make a written request as soon as possible giving your reasons.

Examples of when your employer should give you more time include when you are provided by your employer with lots of documentary evidence late and you need more time to read and comment on it, or you need more time to speak to witnesses or take legal advice.

I have been dismissed but another work colleague was only given a warning. Is this fair?

Possibly not. Your employer must show it has acted fairly in deciding to dismiss you. If you can show that your employer treated you differently compared with another work colleague for the same offence then this inconsistency may help you establish your dismissal was unfair.

What is an unfair dismissal?

A full answer to this question is included in our Briefing Note When will your dismissal be unfair?

I live a long way from your offices, can you still act for me?

Yes absolutely. Our employee clients live and work across the country. We are set up to make using our services easy. Please contact us to discuss your case and how we can help you wherever you live or work.

Find out how we can help you

Click here to contact us or phone us 01473 688100

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Get prepared

Before you call or meet with us it will help us better understand the background facts and your concerns if you:

  • find your contract of employment or service agreement
  • collect together any other relevant correspondence, emails and documents
  • prepare a short chronology or list of key events
  • use one of our online forms to tell us about your problem.

Our online forms are the easy and convenient way to tell us about your case. Our ‘save as you go’ feature lets you complete your answers in your own time.

Reasons to choose Quantrills

Expert help from solicitors Your case will be personally handled by a qualified employment law solicitor with years of experience who will make sure you get the best possible outcome.

Jargon free advice Our clear and straightforward advice ensures you understand your legal position helping you make informed decisions.

Convenient easy access We like to hear form our clients. Instructing your solicitor at Quantrills is easy by:

  • phone and email
  • our online forms you can save
  • meetings held in person, by telephone or Skype

Best client care How we look after you as a client is very important to us so you will recieve:

  • same day response
  • highest quality legal advice and representation
  • value for money and competitive fee options with no hidden costs


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I would like to say a huge thank you for all your efforts

Employee client's thanks to us after winning her claim for unfair dismissal

You were patient and professional to the end, and I am very grateful to you.

Right from my first meeting, Quantrills gave me the confidence to pursue my claim for unfair dismissal

Employee client thanking Tina Cotter about her work

I was given honest and realistic advice and everything was explained clearly. I felt extremely comfortable dealing with Tina through what was a challenging process. And the best part was that the Tribunal found in my favour. Thank you Quantrills.

Julie gave good advice about what steps to take at each stage of my tribunal claim

Employee client talking about how Julie Temple's tactical advice was highly valued

Julie and her team at Quantrills, even though the litigation was not always unstressful, made my case as easy as possible. When you are experiencing issues with your employer it is difficult to know what to do, if you are right or wrong, if you are over emotional or justified in your concerns. Quantrills gave me all the reassurance I needed to press on with my claim and to win.

Thank you both very much for your expert help, advice and kindness

Executive employee thanking Simon Quantrill and Tina Cotter after successfully defending sham gross misconduct allegations.

I am positive that without your intervention I would have lost my employment. Thanks once again.