Advising managers: how to conduct a disciplinary hearing
Advising managers: how to conduct a disciplinary hearing

The following Employment guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Advising managers: how to conduct a disciplinary hearing
  • Legal considerations and implications
  • Conducting a disciplinary hearing
  • The right of appeal
  • Confirm the decision in writing
  • Record-keeping requirements

Following a disciplinary investigation which leads to a recommendation that a disciplinary hearing be convened (see Advising managers: how to conduct a disciplinary investigation), the manager charged with conducting that hearing will prepare for it (see Advising managers: how to plan and prepare for a disciplinary hearing). The guidance for managers set out below explains how to conduct the hearing itself when the day arrives.

A well-implemented and conducted disciplinary procedure should enable a business to uphold expected standards of conduct, while at the same time promoting good employee relations. Conducting disciplinary hearings well is one important element of that procedure, and can help to achieve those goals.

The functional purpose of a disciplinary hearing is to evaluate and discuss the evidence gathered during the disciplinary investigation that preceded it, provide an opportunity for the employee to state his case, and ensure that a fair process is used to reach a decision about:

  1. whether the available evidence sufficiently substantiates the allegations against the employee and, if so

  2. what level of disciplinary action is appropriate taking into account all the circumstances including any extenuating factors, the employee’s length of service and previous disciplinary record

Legal considerations and implications

The Acas Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures, which was issued under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, provides that