In order to fairly dismiss an employee for a breach of discipline an employer should have in place a disciplinary procedure.
The procedure should comply with the ACAS guidelines in its Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures.
If the procedure is not used, the dismissal will almost certainly be judged unfair by an employment tribunal.
Employers are legally required in the written statement of terms and conditions of employment to specify any disciplinary rules applicable to employees and indicate the person to whom they should apply if they are dissatisfied with any disciplinary decision.
The statement should explain any further steps that exist in any procedure for dealing with disciplinary decisions.
The employer may satisfy certain of these requirements by referring the employees to a reasonably accessible document which provides the necessary information, such as in an employee handbook.
Workers have a statutory right to be accompanied by a fellow worker or trade union official where they are required or invited by their employer to attend certain disciplinary or grievance hearings and when they make a reasonable request to be so accompanied. This right is additional to any contractual rights.
Bishopsgate Law employment lawyers provide independent legal advice about employment settlement agreements, and represent employees and employers at Employment Tribunals.