Conducting a Disciplinary Meeting or Appeal
If an investigation into a suspected employee transgression bears out your suspicions, a disciplinary hearing should be held.
The employee should be forewarned as to the time of the hearing, issues to be raised, the sanctions that may follow and his statutory right to be accompanied at the meeting by a colleague or trade union representative of his choice. Copies of relevant documentation should be provided where practicable.
Ideally, the meeting should be attended by the person responsible for making the decision. An appropriate person should set out the allegations, identify those present, and describe or show the evidence or bring forward evidence from witnesses. The employee or his representative should then have a chance to put the employee's case.
Formal legal evidence and procedural rules need not be observed slavishly - fairness is the key. The level of formality at the hearing which may be considered reasonable, will generally depend on the size of your organisation. In arriving at the verdict, the required standard of proof is reasonable belief.
Notification of the decision to the employee should be in writing together with a stated time for making an appeal. The appeal should be held shortly afterwards. The appeal body should ideally consist of different people.
Employment tribunals have power to reduce awards for unfair dismissal where the employee has failed to use internal appeal mechanisms. Conversely, they may increase awards if the employer prevents an employee from using such appeal procedures.