Introduction to this document

Out of time appeal request outcome

Where an employee has lodged a late appeal in disciplinary or grievance cases and requested a time extension, once you’ve considered the case, you’ll need to let them know the outcome of their request, which you can do using our letter.

Time limit for appeals

The Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures provides that employees should be allowed to appeal against any formal decision made where they feel that the disciplinary action taken against them is wrong or unjust, and this includes appeals against dismissal or against lesser sanctions such as warnings. The Code includes a similar opportunity for the employee to appeal against a grievance decision where they feel their grievance hasn’t been satisfactorily resolved. The Code itself is silent on timescales for lodging an appeal, but the non-statutory Acas Guide on Discipline and Grievances at Work, which accompanies the Code, states that your appeals process should specify a time limit within which an appeal should be lodged and that “five working days is commonly felt appropriate, although this may be extended in particular circumstances”.

Out of time appeals

Our disciplinary, capability, attendance and grievance procedures all state that an appeal must be submitted within five working days starting with the day after the date on which the employee receives your written decision. In most cases, that should be more than adequate time for an appeal. However, in some cases, an employee will miss the deadline but still appeal. In this case, use our Letter Advising Appeal is Out of Time to ask them to request an extension of time; don’t simply reject their appeal as being out of time. As part of their request, the employee should set out both the reason for their failure to comply with your time limit and any other relevant mitigating circumstances.

Reasonableness requirement

Once the employee has requested a time extension, consider the particular circumstances of their case. They may have set out a good reason why their appeal was late, and whether you stick rigidly to your time limit is a question of reasonableness in each case. Alternatively, they may be raising new evidence that wasn’t available at the original hearing or meeting and which casts doubt on the original decision, so in that case give serious consideration to hearing the appeal outside your time limit. There are then two options. Either you accept their late appeal, or you reject it. Our Out of Time Appeal Request Outcome covers both options, and it can be used in relation to action taken under any of your disciplinary, capability, attendance or grievance procedures. In the case of the former option, our letter advises the employee that you’ve exercised your discretion to extend the time limit and so their appeal will now be heard, and it enables you to attach the relevant notice of appeal hearing or meeting letter. In the case of the latter option, our letter advises the employee that you don’t believe the circumstances of their case are exceptional and therefore you’re not willing to exercise your discretion to extend the time limit on this occasion, meaning the previous disciplinary or grievance decision is now final.