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Dealing with disciplinary action against you at work

Dealing with disciplinary action against you at work

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There are many reasons why an employer may start disciplinary action against an employee, including the quality of work produced, absence or conduct. If you’re facing disciplinary action at work then we’ve pulled together some points that may help you through it.

What is disciplinary action?

Disciplinary action can take many forms but usually consists of verbal and written warnings about an employee’s behaviour or standard of work. The term can also include demotion or the removal of privileges and dismissal from a post is also considered disciplinary action. Most employers will try to solve the issue informally before taking official action, however, they are perfectly within their rights to take action straight away.


All companies will have a set of procedures that managers must follow. Most firms adhere to the ACAS Code of Practice as they may otherwise be caught out if later taken to tribunal. If your company does use this then you there are certain procedures that must be carried out by your employer. These include sending you a letter detailing the action being taken and the reasons for it and arranging a meeting to discuss the problem and allow you to argue your case. You have the right to take someone else into the meeting with you – a union rep for example – and any decisions made at the meeting must be given to you in writing. You should also have the right to appeal any decisions made.


Dealing with disciplinary action against you at workIf you don’t agree with your employer’s decision then you can appeal within a reasonable amount of time. Your petition should be made in writing and state that you wish to appeal. In the letter you should explain your reasons for appealing the decision. Reasons can include the way in which the disciplinary action was taken, the weakness or unreliability of evidence used in the case against you or an objection to the severity of action taken against you. You may also wish to appeal if there are other circumstances, such as a lack of training, which led to the problem occurring in the first place. Another meeting should be called to discuss the appeal. Again, you can ask someone else to accompany you to the appeal meeting and your employer should inform you by letter of their final decision.

What happens next?

If you are still unhappy with the decision then you have two options to keep fighting: mediation or an employment tribunal. Mediation involves you and your employer discussing the matter with an impartial third party. The idea is that a solution is reached that suits everyone involved. If this fails or you don’t feel it would be worthwhile then you can go to an employment tribunal. In the majority of cases, a claim must be made within three months of the disciplinary action being taken but you don’t need to have appealed the decision. At the tribunal you will need to give evidence under oath and you may wish to employ the services of a solicitor. In some cases you’ll be told of the decision at the hearing but usually you’ll be sent a letter in the post a few days later. If you win your case you may be entitled to compensation, expenses or your employer may be ordered to give you your job back. If the tribunal sides with your employer then you can request that they reconsider or launch an appeal against the decision. However, to do this you’ll need to have a good reason, such as new evidence or the tribunal having made a legal mistake.







About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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