Disciplinary Proceedings

Employers and managers often have to deal with misconduct or poor performance by an employee. As your trusted employment law advisor, our Solicitors have many years of experience and expertise in handling disciplinary proceedings, no matter how complex or contentious. It is essential that any disciplinary proceedings hearings conducted by your organisation are fair, transparent, and well organised. Employers must make sure they have appropriate disciplinary policies in place and that these are easily accessible. This will ensure that informed decisions are made at all times and that no issues arise out of disciplinary proceedings that could have a detrimental impact on your business. Disciplinary policies must also be regularly reviewed and updated based on changes in legislation and within the organisation.

As a full-service law firm, we will work as a seamless extension of your in-house legal and HR teams, offering the highest level of disciplinary expertise, support, and guidance. When handling, advising on or representing you in relation to disciplinary proceedings, our aim is to protect you from a claim for unfair dismissal or discrimination from your employee. We offer expert support and guidance through the employment disciplinary hearing process, including preparation for hearings, advice on individual cases and, where necessary, negotiating a termination of employment.

Contact us on 0808 164 1349 or complete our online enquiry form to find out how we can help with your disciplinary matter.

Do employers have a duty to provide employees with a disciplinary procedure?

Yes, as an employer, you have a responsibility to provide workers and employees with a written copy of their disciplinary procedure, preferably at the beginning of their employment and when you formally notify them that you intend to take disciplinary action. This procedure should state:

  • What performance and behaviour may result in disciplinary action
  • What action you may take if an employee breaches the policy
  • What steps will be undertaken during the disciplinary process

What is the Acas Code of Practice for disciplinary proceedings?

The Acas Code of Practice explains how best to deal with disciplinary situations, including misconduct, poor performance and grievances. The disciplinary procedures you put in place should follow the Acas Code of Practice. Failing to do so will not make you liable to proceedings, but an Employment Tribunal will be legally required to take this into account when it is considering relevant evidence.

The Code states that disciplinary proceedings must be fair and transparent and that the process to be followed by staff should be in writing, specific and clear. It also states that any formal action taken following disciplinary proceedings should be proportionate to the circumstances of the particular case.

When it comes to handling a disciplinary investigation, the Code makes clear that employers should:

  • Establish the facts of the case – this must be done without unreasonable delay, and where the matter relates to concerns of misconduct, different people should carry out the investigation and disciplinary hearing.
  • Inform the employee of the problem if there is a case to answer – this should be in writing and followed up with a disciplinary meeting.
  • Be given a reasonable opportunity to ask questions, present evidence and call relevant witnesses.
  • Allow the employee to be accompanied at the meeting – this is a statutory right
  • to decide on the outcome – the employee must be informed in writing of the action to be taken if any. Appropriate action may include a written warning, a final written warning if the matter is sufficiently serious, and dismissal. Where the decision is made to dismiss the employee, the final decision to do so should only be taken by a manager with the necessary authority within the organisation.
  • Provide an opportunity to appeal the decision reached.

By following the Acas disciplinary process carefully, you can ensure even in the case of gross misconduct, the employee concerned is treated fairly and with respect. If a decision is made to dismiss the individual and an unfair dismissal claim is brought, you must be able to demonstrate that the process and outcome were fair.

Why Wilford Smith Solicitors?

Wilford Smith was founded over 30 years ago and is now considered one of the UK’s most prestigious law firms, having developed a richly deserved reputation for excellence in our core areas of law, including employment and HR. We are more than just a law firm; we are your trusted legal advisor and will be there at every step of your commercial journey. You are never alone. The advice, support, and representation we provide to your business will be tailored to your needs and specific to your industry sector. You can be assured that with our team handling your disciplinary matter, exceptional outcomes are the norm. In addition to handling a specific disciplinary matter on your behalf, we can also advise on your disciplinary strategy, processes, and policies.

Our employment law teams are based in Sheffield and advise and represent clients throughout England and Wales. Contact us today on 0808 168 5813 to find out how we can help with your disciplinary proceedings.




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  • S9 2EQ
  • Tel: 0808 164 4106
  • Fax: 0844 225 0572


  • Smithy House 22 Westgate,
  • Rotherham S60 1AP
  • Tel: 0808 164 4106
  • Fax: 0844 225 0572


  • 20 Old Bailey
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2024 Wilford Smith is the trading name of WS Strategic Ltd. a limited company registered in England and Wales, registration number 07777022. Registered office – Meadowhall Business Park, Sheffield S9 2EQ. We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. SRA Registration Number 640898.