Advanced People Management

Employee Rights: The Disciplinary Procedure

Disciplinary Action (What they don’t tell you)

Everyone is entitled to a fair trial


From both an employment contractual perspective and a HR employment law perspective the disciplinary procedure at work is subject to the theory of ‘natural justice’. As a concept and applied to disciplinary action at work natural justice is concerned with procedural fairness and a fair decision making process. Three law rules are important and are related to natural justice and to the disciplinary procedure at work:

The Hearing Rule; A person must be allowed to present their case, review any evidence against them beforehand and given the opportunity to prepare their own evidence before the hearing.

The Bias Rule; The decision maker in any case must be unbiased and take the decision based on the evidence before them, without favouring one party over another. There must be no conflict of interest on the part of the decision maker.

The Evidence Rule; All evidence, documents, allegations and arguments must be disclosed to each party so that each party has the opportunity and time to prepare or defend themselves against the evidence, allegations and arguments.

Being invited to a disciplinary hearing is always going to be a stressful and upsetting experience, especially if the allegations or issues are misplaced or are incorrect. If you are facing a disciplinary hearing at work we can help you defend yourself in a professional, structured and powerful manner. We can help you construct your defence in such a way that it will reduce your risk of receiving a disciplinary warning, a demotion or from being dismissed.

For example; You may simply require us to give you some ongoing tactical telephone advice which allows you the knowledge and confidence to protect and defend yourself at work.

Alternatively before you attend any hearings it is important that you have fully prepared your arguments, your defence and your documentation. We can help and guide you throughout the whole process. We can, for example, give tactical guidance, or prepare your case, your documents and your arguments for you and make sure the process is legally compliant. We will draft your witness statements and written representations, your opening statements and train you to present your case in a structured, consistent and credible manner.

Depending on the outcome of the hearing and whatever sanction has been imposed on you, a warning, a demotion or even a dismissal that is not the end of the matter. Everyone has the right of appeal and you should always appeal. We can review the whole process both from a procedural angle and from a legal aspect. We can help you prepare a solid, structured, powerful appeal which will enable you to present credible reasoning around why the sanction imposed or the procedure used was not reasonable. The appeal is the last lines of defence at work, it is very important, always use it, it could make the difference between keeping your job and losing it, but you have to be quick, preferably appealing within a week of any imposed sanction.

Remember you have rights at work which mean you cannot be dismissed from your job unfairly (The Employment Rights Act 1999: section 94). These rights also allow you a powerful voice which can be used to challenge your employer when they use the disciplinary procedure, which can be for many reasons including, being disciplined for capability, performance and misconduct issues, absence issues or if the disciplinary procedure is being used against you for short-term or long-term illness matters.


Advanced People Management; a cost-effective method of advising, supporting and empowering people at work




This blog is maintained for information purposes only. It is not intended to be a source of legal advice and must not be relied upon as such. Blog posts reflect the views and opinions of their individual authors, not of Advanced People Management as a whole. You should never take any action based solely on the information contained in the blog posts.