If you have been subject to a disciplinary sanction (warning or dismissal) and you feel is it unfair, you have the right to appeal against it. As an employee, your employer should offer you the right of appeal – if not, this could count against them if the case goes to a tribunal.
As employment law specialists, we are going to take you through the steps of how you can make an appeal; what you need to do, how to prepare, how to conduct yourself when it takes place and what to do afterwards.
Employment Law – Conducting An Appeal Against A Disciplinary
You can raise an appeal if you feel that your disciplinary outcome is too severe, your grievance outcome is wrong, any part of your disciplinary or grievance was wrong or unfair, or if you have any new evidence to show. Your appeal will compel your employer to look at whether the procedure was followed fairly and whether the outcome was fair. In this case, they should:
- Hear your appeal.
- If necessary, carry out another investigation.
- See if a different outcome is appropriate.
- Provide the final outcome in writing as soon as possible.
How to make an appeal.
If you are going to appeal, your workplace should have a policy or guidelines you can follow for this, if not you can write a letter or email detailing why the outcome was wrong, and what you would like the next steps to be.
The appeals process.
The person who is assigned to hear your appeal and carries out any further investigations should not have been previously involved in your case nor be senior to anyone who carried out any part of your case previously. However, it should be noted that this is not always possible (especially in small businesses), but the employer is compelled to make the process as fair as they can. They could even look at bringing in an independent person to carry out the appeal.
After you’ve raised the appeal, the employer or person carrying out the appeal process should invite you for a meeting or hearing. This should be done as soon as possible and made in writing – the invitation should state the date, time and place of the hearing as well as your right to be accompanied.
Your right to be accompanied.
An employee can bring a relevant person with them to a disciplinary or grievance appeal hearing – this is known as ‘the right to be accompanied’. Having a ‘companion’ can be helpful as they can give you support and be a neutral person to observe or speak for you if you need them to. You should tell your employer as soon as possible about who you want to be your companion so they can prepare in good time.
The person you can bring with you to an appeal can be a work colleague or a trade union representative.
Under discrimination law, employers should make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees – this could mean allowing someone else (not mentioned above) to attend, such as a family member.
What to do in the hearing.
The appeal hearing is your chance to state your case and ask your employer to look at a different outcome. This could help you to explain why you think the outcome is wrong or unfair; say (and ask questions about) why the procedure was unfair; present new evidence; listen to your employer’s point of view; refer to your workplace policy; and ask about how your workplace dealt with any previous cases of a similar nature.
What do employers need to do in the hearing?
The employer (or person conducting the appeal hearing) should introduce everyone and explain why they are there if necessary; explain the purpose of the meeting (how it will be conducted and what powers the person conducting the appeal has); ask why you are appealing; look at any new evidence; and discuss and summarise the points raised and end the meeting.
They will then need to consider if the original outcome was fair; if they need to change the original outcome (if it’s clear it was not right) and if a new investigation is needed to find out more before making a final decision.
How an appeal investigation should be conducted.
After hearing your appeal, your employer or person assigned may decide that they need to carry out a further investigation. This may occur if they find or look at new evidence you’ve raised; if they re-check the evidence they found; if they talk to the same people involved (‘witnesses’) again; or if they find and talk to new witnesses.
The person carrying out the appeal investigation then should make a written, confidential report on their findings – which should then be shown to you. If the extra investigation finds new or more serious information about you, your employer should not increase the original outcome (unless the company’s disciplinary policy allows for this). In this case, your employer should start a new disciplinary procedure to investigate these new findings.
Understanding your appeal outcome.
Your employer should tell you the appeal outcome as soon as possible in writing, including the reason for their decision and whether this is a final decision.
Once received, if you are not happy with the outcome, contact an employment law specialist for further advice on protecting your position.
Rowberrys – Dedicated Employment Solicitors
Here at Rowberrys Solicitors, we are employment law specialists who have vast experience of assisting and mediating between employers and employees. Our Employment Team has expertise in all legal matters in the workplace and we are dedicated to working closely with you to understand your case, endeavouring to explain all aspects of the legal process clearly, with our advice specifically tailored to suit your situation.
If you would like to learn more, please do not hesitate to give our friendly employment solicitors a call today on 01344 775 311.