A formal way for an employer to deal with an employee's right to appeal a disciplinary decision.
The Acas Code says that employees should be given the right to appeal a disciplinary or grievance outcome.
If an employer does not give the opportunity to appeal, this could be counted against them if the case goes to employment tribunal.
This process features on our list of 25 processes every business needs.
1Receive written notice of appeal from the employee
The employee should write in a letter or email:
- why they think your outcome was wrong or unfair (for example, if they felt the person investigating their case did not get enough evidence)
- what they would like to happen next (for example, they could ask if the employer can carry out another investigation or look at the new evidence they have found).
The employee should do this as soon as possible or within the time-frame that the company might have set in their policy.
Acas recommends 5 days from receiving the outcome as an appropriate amount of time.
2Decide who will carry out the appeal process
The person who hears the appeal and carries out any further investigation should:
- not have been previously involved in the case
- be more senior than anyone who carried out any part of your case previously
This might not always be possible, especially in small businesses, but the employer should try and make the process as fair as they can. They could also see if it’s possible to bring in an external person to carry out the appeal.
3Invite the employee to an appeal meeting/hearing
Use the appropriate template letter attached to invite the employee to an appeal meeting.
Book a meeting room for the meeting.
The meeting should be held as soon as possible after the appeal letter has been received, while giving reasonable time for the employee to prepare.
In good time before the meeting, the employer should put in writing to the employee:
- the date, time and location of the meeting
- information on the employee’s right to be accompanied to the hearing.
4Conduct the appeal meeting/hearing
Use the template attached to document the meeting.
The employer should:
- introduce everyone, explaining why they are there if necessary
- explain the purpose of the meeting, how it will be conducted and what powers the person hearing the appeal has
- ask the employee why they are appealing
- look at new evidence, if there is any
- after discussing the points, summarise them and end the hearing
The employee should be given the chance to:
- explain why they think the outcome is wrong or unfair
- say where they felt the procedure was unfair
- ask questions about the parts of the procedure they felt were unfair
- present new evidence, if they have it
- listen to the employer’s point of view
- refer to the company's workplace policy or the Acas Code
- ask how the company has dealt with any similar cases before
The employee’s companion should be allowed to:
- set out the employee’s case
- speak for the employee
- talk with the employee during the hearing
- take notes
4.1Sign the appeal meeting sheet
Investigator & employee to sign appeal meeting sheet.
If the employee refuses to sign the sheet, another person in the meeting can sign the sheet.
5Review the evidence and meeting notes, then decide on the outcome
- original outcome remains
- original outcome overturned
- new investigation needed
- the original outcome was fair
- a change needs to be made regarding the original outcome, if it’s clear it was not right
- a new investigation is needed to find out more before making a final decision
You should tell the employee the appeal outcome as soon as possible in writing, including:
- the reason for your decision
- whether this is the final decision
5.1Original outcome remains/original outcome is overturned
If outcome of the original disciplinary meeting is to remain unchanged or is to be overturned after the review following the appeal meeting, use the template letter attached and amend accordingly.
5.2Carrying out a new investigation
If the outcome of the appeal meeting is to carry out a new investigation, you would need to follow the steps in your disciplinary investigation process.
Add a link to your disciplinary investigation template process here!
Use the template letter in your disciplinary investigation template process to communicate to the employee that a new investigation will be carried out.
This would be in cases where you need to:
- find or look at new evidence
- re-check the evidence they found
- talk to the same people (‘witnesses’) again
- find and talk to new witnesses