Introduction to this document

Notice of disciplinary appeal hearing

If you deny an employee the right to appeal against a disciplinary sanction or dismissal, you will be acting unfairly and in breach of the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures. Use our notice of disciplinary appeal hearing letter when an employee appeals against a disciplinary decision, to inform them of the date and time of the appeal hearing.

An appealing prospect

Once you’ve made your decision to formally warn the employee or to dismiss them, that’s the end of the matter, right? Not quite. It’s essential that you allow the employee the right of appeal against any decision reached in the disciplinary procedure. This is because you’re required to follow the so-called rules of natural justice and you need to comply with the provisions of the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures. This means, if the employee does appeal, someone other than you should consider the facts to see if the decision reached was fair. Use our Notice of Disciplinary Appeal Hearing letter to set up the date and time of the hearing, explain the procedure to the employee and point out their rights.

Grounds for appeal

An employee may choose to appeal on a number of grounds, including the perceived unfairness of the decision, the severity of the penalty imposed, procedural irregularities or new evidence having come to light. It’s quite legitimate to ask the employee to provide their grounds for appeal so that you can examine in detail whether it has any merit.

The appeal hearing

If the employee appeals, you must have an appeal hearing in order to comply with the Acas Code; a paper decision is insufficient. In addition, the person who chairs the appeal hearing should not have been previously involved in the disciplinary procedure taken against the employee (to ensure that they remain entirely impartial and unbiased) and they should preferably be more senior than the original decision-maker (to prevent allegations of undue influence). In effect, the chair of the appeal hearing can look at all the paperwork objectively and with a fresh eye. In small organisations where it’s just not possible to have a different manager hear the appeal, the person dealing with the appeal should act as impartially as possible. If you inadvertently committed any procedural mistakes at the original disciplinary stage, it may be possible to correct them on appeal. In this case, it’s advisable for the appeal to then take the form of a full rehearing of the disciplinary case against the employee rather than just a review of the decision and so we’ve included an optional paragraph to cover this possibility.