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Help for small firms

Managing discipline - Investigation to possible dismissal: A guide

Managing discipline - Legal check

  • In law, you no longer have to name the person, and their job, who an employee should write to if they are unhappy about a decision over performance, conduct or dismissal, or explain how they should appeal.
  • However, it is good practice to refer to these details in the employee's Written Statement of Terms and Conditions of Employment, a document an employee is entitled to receive after working for you for two months. Also say where they can find a copy of the procedure they should follow.
  • Follow the Acas Discipline and grievance - Acas Code of Practice otherwise it could cost you more if the dispute ends up before an employment tribunal.
  • Should the employee go off sick just before or during the disciplinary process, the company can carry on with it when the employee returns.

Employee rights

Your employees have the legal right not to be unfairly dismissed. They can make a claim to an employment tribunal.

  • If they have been dismissed for exercising their rights on discrimination, pregnancy, maternity and paternity leave, pay and working hours, and representing employees. Dismissal on these grounds is judged to be 'automatically unfair'. This right starts on day one of employment.
  • If they feel that you have not behaved reasonably in the way you have dismissed them. For employees starting work on or after April 6, 2012, they need two years' continuous service to make this claim. Those who joined you before that date need one year's continuous service.
  • Be aware of employee rights regarding disability, sex, race, religion and belief. To avoid discrimination see Equality and discrimination.
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