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How not to conduct disciplinary procedure

In order for a gross misconduct dismissal to be fair, employers need to get over two hurdles: 1) they have the reason for the dismissal and that this falls within the band of reasonable responses, and 2) they have followed a fair procedure in accordance with the ACAS Code of Practice.

The employee had been on maternity leave when allegations of bullying came to light from colleagues. In a case described by the tribunal as a “wholesale disregard of the ACAS Code”, the following points were noted:

  1. Only 24 hours’ notice had been given to attend an investigatory meeting;

  2. No right to bring a representative was advised;

  3. Despite having been prepared, the investigatory report was not disclosed, nor any other evidence;

  4. No advance details of the allegations were given;

  5. The investigation meeting was turned into a disciplinary hearing, where she was dismissed;

  6. The owner had been involved in the investigation and then conducted the disciplinary hearing and made the decision to dismiss;

  7. The allegations did not warrant gross misconduct and her dismissal.

A costly warning to employers to correctly follow the ACAS Code, or seek properly legal advice.

If you wish to discuss this further, please contact us.

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