The Importance of Following Disciplinary Guidelines

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A law firm was fined £23,000 for unfairly dismissing an employee that had only been with the company for one week.

The firm sacked a pregnant administrator who was suffering from severe nausea and vomiting, which resulted in her calling in sick on two occasions.

On the day of her second absence, she received an email informing her of her dismissal and claiming that she was an unreliable employee.

The employee in question took the matter to court, and the judge ruled that her dismissal was unfair and discriminatory.

This case highlights the importance of following the guidelines set out by Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service), which the law firm in this case did not do.

There are specific steps that must be included in any disciplinary procedure. These are known as the ‘statutory minimum procedures’. They are:

  • An invite letter giving reasonable advance warning, setting out the reason(s) the employer is taking disciplinary action and clear identification of any possible outcome should the allegations be substantiated
  • A disciplinary meeting between the employer and the employee to discuss the issue
  • To be given the right to representation
  • A disciplinary decision
  • A chance for the employee to appeal this decision

If the company had followed these guidelines, they most likely would not have had to pay the dismissed employee £23,000 in compensation.

Youmanage is the only HR software in the UK to have the above statutory procedures built-in as part of our Disciplinary & Grievance module, ensuring that issues that may arise are handled effectively, fairly, consistently, and in line with relevant employment legislation.

If you’d like to find out more about how you can prevent your company getting caught up in costly employment tribunals then get in touch with us today, or you can try out our functionality free of charge by claiming your 30-day trial.