Introduction to this document

Letter rescheduling disciplinary hearing

Use our letter if you need to postpone a scheduled disciplinary hearing or if you are agreeing to an employee’s request to postpone. It’s reasonable to reschedule if the employee has valid grounds for their request, you need to do so for business reasons or because further allegations against the employee come to light.

Acas Code of Practice

The Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures sets out the principles for handling disciplinary matters in the workplace. This includes informing the employee in writing of the disciplinary problem and permitting them to attend a disciplinary hearing to answer the case against them - you use our Notification of Disciplinary Hearing for this. However, occasionally it may be necessary to postpone the hearing and this could be at your behest or at the request of the employee. You can use our Letter Rescheduling Disciplinary Hearing for this. It covers three potential postponement circumstances.

Business need

The first is where you need to postpone the hearing due to unforeseen business circumstances. However, don’t use this lightly - make sure it’s an essential business reason. You don’t want to give your employee the ammunition to argue that your disciplinary process was unfair. We’ve gone on to set out a new date and time for the hearing, stated that the allegations remain the same and confirmed that the postponement won’t in any way affect the conduct of the hearing or its outcome.

Further allegations

Occasionally, further allegations against an employee may come to light between setting up the disciplinary hearing and it taking place. In this case, it’s advisable to postpone the hearing whilst you investigate the allegations and then, if necessary, deal with everything together at the one hearing. What you must never do is just spring new or additional allegations on the employee at the hearing itself. So our letter has a paragraph that enables you to postpone the hearing while you investigate the further allegations. If there is a disciplinary case to answer on the further allegations, you’ll need to send out a new notification of disciplinary hearing containing the revised allegations.

Employee’s request

Finally, our letter provides for a postponement at the employee’s own request. Under the legislation, if the employee’s chosen companion is not available at the time you originally proposed for the hearing, the employee can suggest an alternative reasonable time which is within five working days of the original date (plus it may also be reasonable for you to agree to a postponement which is beyond the five working days). Other valid reasons why an employee may request a postponement include genuine illness, annual leave, to obtain legal advice, etc. It’s advisable to allow at least one postponement if the employee’s reasons are valid. Where an employee is repeatedly unable or unwilling to attend, you will need to consider all the facts and come to a reasonable decision as to how to proceed.