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You can view the archived version of this advice on The National Archives website. The ACAS Code of Practice states “in misconduct cases, where practicable, different people should carry out the investigation and the disciplinary hearing”. If it does not then it’s time to re-evaluate A grievance procedure is used to deal with a problem or complaint that an employee raises. The ACAS Code of Practice states “in misconduct cases, where practicable, different people should carry out the investigation and the disciplinary hearing”. If a proper procedure is not followed, the disciplinary action taken may be considered to be unfair. To help you resolve issues quickly, we also offer interactive Discipline and Grievance training to help managers develop their confidence in dealing with investigations and hearings in accordance with legislation and best practice. A disciplinary investigation does not make you guilty of the allegations. Enacting key meetings, the day culminates in a ‘live’ hearing. A failure to carry out a proper investigation will usually impact on the fairness of any disciplinary sanction that may be imposed and can of itself render a dismissal unfair. This requirement is enshrined in the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures.Paragraph 4 of this Code stresses that employers should carry out any necessary investigations, to establish the facts of the case. Conducting a disciplinary investigation and hearing: overview Practical Law UK Practice Note 8-200-2423 (Approx. Conducting an investigation A disciplinary investigation must take place prior to any disciplinary action to ensure that the employer does not fall foul of the Acas code, or the principles of fairness established by case law. Select the statement you most agree with: Supporting mental health in the workplace, Dealing with a problem raised by an employee, Please tell us why the information did not help, I cannot find the information I'm looking for. It is critical for an investigation into potential misconduct to take place prior to the employer deciding to progress to a disciplinary hearing and/or issue a disciplinary sanction. Employers should consider whether a formal investigation and disciplinary proceedings are even necessary. You can find advice on our previous website on: What should happen when an employee raises a formal workplace grievance. You can get Acas training on conducting investigations for disciplinary or grievance cases. Investigations are covered by the Acas Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures, which is the minimum a workplace must follow. We will facilitate discussion throughout the day, providing best practice advice, relevant case law and highlighting potential pitfalls. Even where the employer believes there to … This is important with disciplinary processes because it is all part of trying to follow a fair process, as well as conduct yourself in accordance with the ACAS code of practice. Since Spring 2019, we have been assisting our clients to review and improve their investigation and disciplinary cultures and practices in line with instructions from Baroness Harding’s letter dated 24 May 2019 to Trust and foundation Trust Chairs and Chief Executives. We cannot respond to questions sent through this form. Since Spring 2019, we have been assisting our clients to review and improve their investigation and disciplinary cultures and practices in line with instructions from Baroness Harding’s letter dated 24 May 2019 to Trust and foundation Trust Chairs and Chief Executives. This is known as an ‘investigation’. Your employer has a legal duty to act reasonably and use a fair procedure. As a business owner, director or employer, the Acas Code of Practice defines your … Where new allegations come to light concerning the employee who is the subject of the disciplinary investigation, the employer should inform the employee of the new allegations, and investigate them, which may involve a further investigatory meeting with the employee. Follow the recommendations about disciplinary investigations in the Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures. A grievance procedure is used to deal with a problem or complaint that an employee raises. The disciplinary procedure must contain the following processes in accordance with rules of natural justice. Try and resolve the issue informally; The rules should be in writing and be specific, clear and accessible; Any issues … Application to performance issues. If you have a question about your individual circumstances, call our helpline on 0300 123 1190. Why the investigation is important. Join Acas as we guide you through the disciplinary process. This will depend on the detail of the grievance and whether it is related to the disciplinary process or not. ACAS has produced new guidance on handling disciplinary matters and grievances in the workplace, which asks employers to consider if it would be fair and reasonable to start or continue such procedures while their employees are on furlough, following social distancing measures at work, or working from home on account of the coronavirus pandemic. The investigator should restrict their conclusions to recommendations on whether t… The trick is to make sure that the role of HR is clearly defined. Call 0800 389 0286 now to get peace of mind. ACAS has produced guidance on Disciplinary and grievance procedures during the coronavirus pandemic. Failing to conduct a proper investigation. Pages are being tested and improved. At any stage the employer can still look at whether: To protect everyone involved in a disciplinary or grievance case, the employer must make sure they follow a fair procedure. The ACAS Code only applies to disciplinary situations including misconduct and poor performance but excludes dismissals on grounds of redundancy or the non-renewal of a fixed term contract. As such employers should consider the following points. These principles include the duty to give someone a fair hearing; the duty to ensure that the matter is decided by someone who is impartial; and the duty to allow an appeal against a decision. Some smaller businesses rely on HR professionals to conduct investigations and even disciplinary hearings and appeals. Clear, practical guidance on how to conduct workplace investigations and hearings. Did you get the information you need from this page? The ACAS Code. 2. The ACAS Code and Guide provide the minimum expectations which have been developed by the Courts and Tribunals in case law. We start with the informal stages and initial investigation. If you like, you can tell us more about what was useful on this page. - for example, to carry out a fair disciplinary procedure, an employer must conduct a reasonable investigation. ACAS defines natural justice as the basic fundamental principles of fair treatment. Acas training courses are now being run remotely using Zoom. The Employment Appeal Tribunal in Sunshine Hotels v Goddard has analysed what a reasonable investigation looks like. Please call Acas on 0300 123 1150 or email events@acas.org.uk if numbers exceed this or for more details about the training session. The Acas guide to conducting workplace investigations (which is non-statutory) advises that: The investigation report should summarise the factual findings of the investigation; The investigator should restrict their conclusions to recommendations on whether the employer should take formal action, such as holding a disciplinary hearing. Internal investigations should avoid 'mission creep' and if the investigation identifies another person whose personal data they may need to process (such as another potential wrongdoer), you will need to carry out (and document) a separate balancing exercise in relation to that person. Disclosures should be made in the public interest. The foreword to the Acas Code encourages informal resolution where appropriate and emphasises that a “quiet word” may often be all that is required to resolve a problem. For more information, go to the Acas website at www.acas.org.uk. The ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures and the Company’s own disciplinary procedures should be followed. ACAS has published new guidance to help employers conduct workplace investigations. Why the Acas Code of Practice matters to you. We start with the informal stages and initial investigation. The result of the investigation was a recommendation to hold a disciplinary hearing based on the allegation that on numerous occasions he had breached the company’s Use of IT Equipment Policy by accessing and displaying sexually explicit and pornographic material using the company’s IT systems during normal working hours and storing over 1,500 images of an adult content on the company’s PC. To let us know how we can help, call us on 0300 123 1150, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. A disciplinary procedure is used by an employer to address an employee's conduct or performance. What happens if an employee's performance or attendance at work needs to be reviewed. If your employer’s procedure misses any of these elements it will be unfair and your employer will be liable in the Employm… Here are our 10 top tips for conducting a disciplinary investigation. Fair dismissal . Coronavirus (COVID-19): latest advice for employers and employees. Acas takes the view in its guidance that it is still possible for furloughed employees to take on various roles in disciplinary or grievance investigations or hearings, including if they are the person under investigation, chairing a hearing, acting as a witness or companion, or taking a note, provided that such participation is voluntary. 3 Disciplinary procedures. Where a witness is reluctant to give evidence, an employer should remind the employee of their obligation of good faith and fidelity owed towards the employer. If the employer does not carry out a reasonable investigation, any decisions they make in the disciplinary or grievance case are likely to be unfair. 3. We would like to thank … Failure to observe these will make the proceedings unlawful. In short, yes. However, the Acas guide to discipline and … Your workplace might have its own policy or procedure. The word ‘should’ indicates what Acas considers to be good employment practice. Acas provides employers with helpful, in-depth advice and guidance on planning and conducting disciplinary investigations, however as a rule: 1. employee, particularly if the outcome results in If the employee, or the employee’s companion, cannot attend on … If an HR professional conducts the investigation, for example, they should not then go on to advise the manager on the disciplinary hearing or appeal. The Acas guide to conducting workplace investigations (which is non-statutory) advises that: The investigation report should summarise the factual findings of the investigation; The investigator should restrict their conclusions to recommendations on whether the employer should take formal action, such as holding a disciplinary hearing. This is available here, and set out below. The Acas guide to conducting workplace investigations (which is non-statutory) advises that: The investigation report should summarise the factual findings of the investigation; The investigator should restrict their conclusions to recommendations on whether the employer should take formal action, such as holding a disciplinary hearing. Acas takes the view in its guidance that it is still possible for furloughed employees to take on various roles in disciplinary or grievance investigations or hearings, including if they are the person under investigation, chairing a hearing, acting as a witness or companion, or taking a note, provided that such participation is voluntary. Enacting key meetings, the day culminates in a ‘live’ hearing. This is our beta website. Overview. When there is a possible workplace disciplinary or grievance issue, the employer should find out all they reasonably can about the issue. "The law and Acas Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures still apply during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Join Acas as we guide you through the disciplinary process. The right to be accompanied arises when a worker who is invited by his or her employer to attend a disciplinary or grievance hearing makes a reasonable request for a companion to attend the hearing. The disciplinary investigation report that led to the dismissal did include the details of two earlier (2010 &2012) PSIs. Although it is a statutory right, the Acas code reminds employers of the requirement to allow the employee to be accompanied at a disciplinary hearing. The ACAS code of practice allows you to decide whether to deal with the grievance and disciplinary concurrently, or to suspend the disciplinary process in order to hear the grievance first. Take into account that a reasonable disciplinary investigation will be essential to ensure that a dismissal for misconduct is fair. 37 pages) Ask a question ... Acas Code of Practice. Fair and unfair dismissal, notice periods and pay, and employees' rights during the coronavirus pandemic. We can also provide remote training courses for your workplace if you need to train larger groups or teams. Take into account that a reasonable disciplinary investigation will be essential to ensure that a dismissal for misconduct is fair. Try and resolve the issue informally; The rules should be in writing and be specific, clear and accessible; Any issues that arise should be brought up and managed promptly. Regardless of the employee’s length of service, I would always advise that there be an investigatory meeting prior to a disciplinary. It’s why we’re here 24/7, ready to offer you free advice based on the Acas Code of Practice. The risks of mis-managing a disciplinary investigation. What you can do if you think your disciplinary or grievance outcome is not right. Well it all depends on the incident, the allegations and, crucially, the investigation. You continue to have employment rights during the investigation. ACAS guidance on conducting workplace investigations also reminds employers that: the investigation report should summarise the factual findings of the investigation; the investigator should restrict their conclusions to recommendations on whether the employer should take formal action, such as holding a disciplinary hearing. The ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedure lays down the key principles for handling these situations in the workplace.. For example, whether there are grounds to uphold a grievance, call a disciplinary hearing or dismiss a member of staff. Why the investigation is important. The ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures applies to any matters relating to discipline. Prior to taking disciplinary action, it is essential that a proper investigation takes place. If you require support through a disciplinary issue, call 0345 226 8393 for professional advice and guidance. Disciplinary investigations: get it right or you’ll end up investigating the investigation What evidence do you need when conducting a disciplinary? This requirement is enshrined in the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures.Paragraph 4 of this Code stresses that employers should carry out any necessary investigations, to establish the facts of the case. One of which was similar to the PSI incident for which she was dismissed and the other previous PSI involved concerns about the employee’s triage decision making. Deal with new allegations that arise during a disciplinary investigation Key points. Workplace investigations should be conducted fairly. The ACAS code of practice allows you to decide whether to deal with the grievance and disciplinary concurrently, or to suspend the disciplinary process in order to hear the grievance first. Whistle-blowing - Public Interest Disclosure Key points. For example, in a potential disciplinary investigation, a flawed or incomplete examination of the evidence can leave the employer exposed to the risk of a claim for unfair dismissal. Step 5: What happens after an investigation, Acas Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures, Acas training on conducting investigations, Download the Acas guide to conducting workplace investigations (PDF, 379KB, 36 pages), Step 1: Deciding if there needs to be an investigation, help the employer to see what should happen next, the issue can be resolved informally instead. Is there a minimum disciplinary procedure that employers must follow? The ACAS Code sets out the steps that an employer should follow when investigating a disciplinary issue and thereafter, conducting a disciplinary hearing. The ACAS Code recognises that in small organisations there may be a limited number of managers within an organisation, making it hard to appoint a wholly unconnected person to conduct a disciplinary investigation. The ACAS Code sets out the basic requirements of fairness applicable in most cases, and is intended to provide the standard of reasonable behaviour to be applied in most disciplinary situations. Overall the risk, we think, is quite low provided you are following the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures and, if it is a remote hearing, you are giving proper consideration to the fairness of how that remote process is conducted. The logical conclusion as to why this wording is in there is that the same person holding all three stages may not be seen as impartial. Your employer has legal obligations towards you during the investigation. New Acas guidance on holding disciplinary and grievance meetings without meetings (UK) By David Whincup on May 7, 2020 Posted in Dismissal, Unfair dismissal Neatly timed to coincide with the beginning of the end of lockdown, ACAS has this week has issued some new thoughts on the conduct of disciplinary and grievance proceedings during the pandemic. We're still building this section of the new Acas website. Your workplace might have its own policy or procedure. Commencing a disciplinary process: planning ACAS has produced guidance on Disciplinary and grievance procedures during the coronavirus pandemic. Can a flawed investigation breach the implied term of mutual trust and confidence?   Contractual or non-contractual procedure? If a disciplinary or grievance case reaches an employment tribunal, judges will look at whether the employer has followed the Acas Code of Practice in a fair way. The following guidelines apply to all disciplinary hearings under all the stages of the formal disciplinary procedure, namely, the: • oral warning stage• written warning stage• final written warning stage• dismissal stage Investigations for discipline and grievance: step by step. New Acas guidance on holding disciplinary and grievance meetings without meetings (UK) By David Whincup on May 7, 2020 Posted in Dismissal, Unfair dismissal Neatly timed to coincide with the beginning of the end of lockdown, ACAS has this week has issued some new thoughts on the conduct of disciplinary and grievance proceedings during the pandemic. Deciding if a disciplinary or grievance procedure can still be carried out fairly during coronavirus. 2. Recap – the requirement to review investigation and disciplinary processes. To help you resolve issues quickly, we also offer interactive Discipline and Grievance training to help managers develop their confidence in dealing with investigations and hearings in accordance with legislation and best practice. Formal grievance procedure: step by step The steps an employer should take to investigate a disciplinary or grievance issue. We will facilitate discussion throughout the day, providing best practice advice, relevant case law and highlighting potential pitfalls. Investigations are covered by the Acas Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures, which is the minimum a workplace must follow. The steps an employer should take to deal with a disciplinary issue. Infographic: Misconduct disciplinary procedure – ACAS Code Tom Street He studied law at the University of Manchester before undertaking the legal practice course at the College of Law in Guildford, going on to complete his legal training at a firm in Chancery Lane, London. Any failure to follow the Code will not, in itself, make an employer liable to proceedings, nor does it automatically make the subsequent dismissal unfair. Please do not include any personal details, for example email address or phone number. For example, witnesses should be spoken to whilst the witnesses still remember the incident. Follow the recommendations about disciplinary investigations in the Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures. The evidence required needs to support the allegations. This could risk legal action. If you require support through a disciplinary issue, call 0345 226 8393 for professional advice and guidance. The logical conclusion as to why this wording is in there is that the same person holding all three stages may not be seen as impartial. It is well established that in misconduct cases, for any subsequent dismissal to be fair, an employer should first carry out an adequate investigation into the employee's conduct to determine whether there are grounds for disciplinary action to be taken. "The law and Acas Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures still apply during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, it is necessary to deal with the investigation, grievance or disciplinary quickly and thoroughly, and to keep good records throughout the process. Employers should be aware that any unreasonable delay in carrying out a grievance or disciplinary investigation may amount to a breach of the Acas Code of Practice, with the potential for a 25 per cent uplift in respect of an award in employment tribunal proceedings. The investigation report should summarise the factual findings of the investigation; 2. 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