There is no precise legal timescale in which a Disciplinary Appeal Hearing should be held. However, the ACAS code of practice on Disciplinary and Grievance procedures advises that Appeals should be heard without unreasonable delay, and ideally at an agreed time and place.
What constitutes an “unreasonable delay” may depend on the particular circumstances. The employer should keep the employee informed of the reason for any delay, for example, the absence through sickness or holiday of a key witness, or the need to investigate any new evidence that has come to light.
Often, employers will specify a time limit in which an Appeal Hearing will be held within their Disciplinary Policy and Procedure, for example 10 working days, from receipt of the Appeal. If a Disciplinary Policy is contractual and is detailed within the Employment Contract, the employer should comply with any timescale that it sets out – unless the employee has agreed to a delay, in order to avoid breaching the contract.
Breaching the ACAS code is not sufficient to enable employees to bring legal proceedings, but the Employment Tribunal will take the ACAS code into account when considering relevant cases, such as where an employee claims unfair dismissal. The Employment Tribunal have the power to increase or reduce compensation by up to 25% if either party has unreasonably failed to comply with the code.
If you have any further questions on the subject matter then please contact Karen Scott on 07762 629 448 or get in touch by clicking here.
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