Making HR policies accessible

1. Introduction

This policy procedure is designed to help and encourage all employees to achieve and maintain standards of conduct, attendance and job performance.  It seeks to establish a clear course of action, in compliance with current UK employment legislation and ACAS Codes of Practice, which will ensure fair and consistent treatment of employees when disciplinary action becomes necessary.  ACAS is the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service and is the body responsible in the UK for offering guidance and support to employers and employees on how to avoid and deal with any workplace disputes.  

ORGANISATION believes that the majority of our employees accept the need for standards of work and behaviour and do not find any difficulty in abiding by them.  However, if any employees fail to achieve the required standards of work or conduct, disciplinary action will be taken in a fair, objective, consistent and reasonable manner.

ORGANISATION distinguishes between situations:

  • of conduct where matters are within the employee's control in which case this disciplinary policy should be used (by way of example only, matters may include time keeping problems, behaviour, lack of application, attitude or negligent behaviour);and
  • where the difficulties relate to more innate qualities which are beyond the employee's control in which case the capability policy should be used (by way of example only, health or incapability to perform the tasks required).

2. Scope

With the exception of probationary employees, this policy and procedure apply to all permanent and temporary employees working under an employment contract.  The aim is to ensure consistent and fair treatment for all in ORGANISATION.  This procedure is for guidance only, and save as where indicated in your Employment Contract it does not form part of your contractual rights.

3. Procedure

3.1. Informal Procedure

ORGANISATION believes that maintenance of discipline and good working practices does not necessarily require the use of formal procedures on every occasion.  Minor faults will be dealt with informally by your line manager.

Counselling or informal warnings will normally be given unless the offence is repeated or serious enough to warrant immediate use of the formal procedure.  The ORGANISATION may choose to use external facilitators including ACAS to help resolve and mediate in any workplace disputes.

If the informal procedure does not accomplish the desired effect within an acceptable time scale, or if the offence warrants more serious action, then the formal disciplinary procedure set out below will be used.

3.2. General principles

The following principles will be taken into account in the application of this procedure:

  • This procedure is intended to follow the ACAS Code of Practice which takes effect from April 2009.
  • This procedure indicates the approach to be followed if an employee faces dismissal or certain kinds of disciplinary action falling short of dismissal.
  • No disciplinary action will be taken against an employee at all until the case has been fully investigated.
  • Each step and action of the procedures will be taken without unreasonable delay on the part of the organisation.
  • The timing and location of meetings will be reasonable.
  • Both the employer and any employee will be given the opportunity to explain their position in the meeting.
  • When a disabled employee is involved in this procedure, ORGANISATION and the employee will co-operate to consider which reasonable adjustments for the meeting will ensure the employee is not disadvantaged in any way.
  • At every stage in the procedure the employee will be advised of the nature of the complaint against him or her and will be given the opportunity to state his or her case before any decision is made.
  • No employee will be dismissed for a first breach of discipline except in the case of gross misconduct, when the penalty will be dismissal without notice or payment in lieu of notice.

3.3. Formal procedure

Where the offence warrants moving directly to the formal procedure or where an informal process has not resolved the problem, the following procedure will be followed.  This involves three key steps - an investigation, a meeting and a decision on action with the right of appeal:

  • The circumstances will be investigated by the employer.  In serious cases the employee may be suspended on full pay while the investigation is taking place.  Every effort will be made to investigate the matter without undue delay.
  • The employee will be asked to attend a meeting to discuss the problem.  The employee has the right to be accompanied at the meeting by a work colleague or trade union official.
  • During or after the meeting, ORGANISATION will decide what appropriate action to take and inform the employee in writing.
  • The employee has a right of appeal against the decision, normally within 5 working days of receipt in writing.  Any appeal meeting will involve another senior manager or Director.  The decision of the appeal meeting will be binding on the employee.

3.3.1.  Investigation

During the investigation, you will be given the opportunity, normally at a meeting with the investigator, to put forward your version of events.  The investigator will have absolute discretion as to who should be involved in any investigation and how it should be carried out.

Full details of the alleged offence and any witness statements being relied upon will be made available to you in writing in advance of the disciplinary meeting.  

In serious cases you may be suspended on full pay in such manner as ORGANISATION considers necessary while the case is investigated; this carries no inference of guilt and is not a disciplinary action.


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