Up to date Employment law advice on Disciplinary in the work place based on the Acas Code of Practice

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What is a Disciplinary at work:

This is where an employee has not followed your rules of engagement that are set out in your statement of main terms and conditions of employment and / or your employees handbook and you feel you have to discipline them. The information below will help you understand what is required by Acas code on the Disciplinary Procedure which in turn will help you solve this issue.

Do you have an issue with an employee where you must give them a Disciplinary for the actions them have taken? Are you having to arrange a Disciplinary Hearing with your employee? Are you aware of your rights on how to deal with a Disciplinary? Call “Perfect HR” NOW and speak to our experts as we can help you with your Disciplinary at work. We make sure you follow the Acas Disciplinary Procedure. This is so important for any business when dealing with a formal Disciplinary at work.

Why have a disciplinary procedure?

A disciplinary procedure is how rules are observed and standards are maintained.

The Disciplinary Procedure should be used primarily to help and encourage employees to improve rather than just as a way of imposing punishment.

It should provide a method of dealing with any apparent shortcomings in conduct or performance and can help an employee to become effective again. The Disciplinary Procedure should be fair, effective, and consistently applied.

*This is an Extract from Acas: The Acas Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures. Disciplinary situations include Conduct, Misconduct and/or poor performance. Employers may have a separate capability procedure they may prefer to address performance issues under this procedure. If so, however, the basic principles of fairness set out in the Acas Code for Disciplinary, it should still be followed, albeit that they may need to be adapted.

What should disciplinary procedures contain?

When drawing up and applying Disciplinary Procedures, employers should always bear in mind principles of fairness. For example, employees should be informed of the allegations against them in writing, together with the supporting evidence, in advance of the meeting. Employees should be given the opportunity to challenge the allegations before decisions are reached and should be provided with a right to appeal. 

Good disciplinary procedure should:

  • be in writing
  • be non-discriminatory
  • provide for matters to be dealt with speedily
  • allow for information to be kept confidential
  • tell employees what disciplinary action might be taken
  • say what levels of management have the authority to take the various forms of disciplinary action
  • require employees to be informed of the complaints against them and supporting evidence, before a disciplinary meeting
  • give employees a chance to have their say before management reaches a decision
  • provide employees with the right to be accompanied
  • provide that no employee is dismissed for a first breach of discipline, except in cases of Gross Misconduct
  • apply to all employees, irrespective of their length of service, status or say if there are different rules for different

You must follow the Acas Disciplinary code of practice such as:

Fairness and transparency are promoted by developing and using rules and procedures for handling disciplinary situations. Failure not to meet the Acas Disciplinary code with the minimum standards could result in a higher award with it went to tribunal you must have a Disciplinary procedure in place so as all staff are aware for your full Acas grievance procedure. You have a Informal Disciplinary Procedure, Formal Disciplinary Procedure. Its not easy to deal with a Disciplinary Complaint as there may be two or more parties involved.

Acas Disciplinary Procedure states whenever a disciplinary process is being followed it is important to deal with issues fairly. There are several elements to the Acas Disciplinary and Grievance Code: – 

  • Employers and employees regarding Disciplinary should raise and deal with issues promptly and should not unreasonably delay meetings, decisions or confirmation of those decisions.
  • Employers and employees should act consistently.
  • Employers should carry out any necessary investigations, to establish the facts of the case.
  • Employers should inform employees of the basis of the problem and give them an opportunity to put their case in response before any decisions are made.
  • Employers should allow employees to be accompanied at any formal disciplinary meeting.
  • Employers should allow an employee to appeal against any formal decision made.
  • Employers must carry out necessary investigations of potential disciplinary matters without unreasonable delay.
  • In misconduct cases, where practicable, different people should carry out the investigation and disciplinary hearing.

Under the Rules of Acas Grievance procedure an Employer can suspend an employee while the investigation takes place, the employee must be paid full.

Here is an example of Discipline in practice

An employee works in a small business and they make a series of mistakes in letters to one of your key customers promising an impossible service that the company provides. The customer is extremely angry and upset at your firm’s failure to meet with that service and threatens to take his business elsewhere. You are the owner of the business, carry out an investigation and invite the employee to a disciplinary meeting. You inform your employee of their right to be accompanied by a colleague or employee representative. At the meeting the employee does not give a satisfactory explanation for the mistakes and admits that their training had covered the importance of agreeing a realistic service with their manager. During your investigation, the manager told you The Owner they had stressed to the employee the importance of delivering the service with them before informing the customer. In view of the seriousness of the mistakes and the possible impact on the business, you issue the employee with a final written warning. You inform the employee in verbally and in writing that failure to improve will lead to dismissal and of their right to appeal.

An outcome of a meeting in different circumstances:

At the disciplinary meeting, the employee reveals that their manager would not let your employee attend training as the manager was too busy. Subsequently the Manager was absent sick, and the employee asked another manager for help with setting the correct service the company provides. The manager said he was too busy and told the employee to ‘use their initiative’. Your investigations support the employee’s explanation. You inform the employee that you will not be taking disciplinary action and will decide for your employee to be properly trained. You also decide to carry out a review of general management standards on supervision and training.

An outcome of a meeting in different circumstances:

At the disciplinary meeting with your employee, after you have carried out a thorough investigation you have found out that this is not the only time this employee has given false information to your clients, and that the employee has had training on how to deliver your service to clients. The employee has agreed that they have given false information to your clients and you will lose a very valuable client if you do not take action, you would have the right to dismiss with immediate effect making sure you offer an appeal to the employee again in writing.

Disciplinary at work can be a very complex issue as the Employer you must establish the facts of each case. Once that has been carried out you them must invite the employee into a meeting in writing to inform the Employee of the outcome








Just Remember the Acas Disciplinary and Grievance at work Procedure: –

  • Establish the facts of each case
  • Hold a meeting with the employee to discuss the problem
  • Allow the employee to be accompanied at the meeting
  • Decide on appropriate action
  • Provide employees with an opportunity to appeal
  • It must be in writing and transparent


If you are having to give an employee a disciplinary, we are here to help you, we will give you the advice you require to help solve your problem, the advice is up to date, for you to action immediately. We make sure you follow all aspects of the ACAS code of practice.

The advice to you if free of charge, which will help you solve your issue with a lot less stress, it will also save you time, money, you’ll also be given an opportunity to sign up on a short term contract with Perfect HR, which will help you in the future, giving you peace of mind that you can cope with any issue an employee puts in front of you.

We are here and ready to offer you the free advice based on the Acas code of practice. Call now on 0111********-and get the help you require.  

Why does the Acas Code of Practice matter so much

As the business director, owner, or an employer, by law you must make sure you follow the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance which defines your responsibilities.

We are here to help, guide and assist you all the way to making sure you get a positive outcome to any dispute. Even if the Grievance is against your manager or yourself.

Perfect HR can help further

Perfect HR offer advice free of charge, giving you peace of mind that you can cope with any issue an employee puts in front of you.

We are here and ready to help. Call now on 0111******** or email info@perfecthr.co.uk.


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