I have to attend an investigation meeting, can I take somebody with me?

An investigation meeting is not a disciplinary hearing and you do not have a legal right to be represented. However, your employer’s disciplinary procedures might allow you to take a work colleague or trade union representative with you. Also, they might be willing to make an exception if you ask.

Can my representative speak at the disciplinary or appeal hearing?

Yes, they do not have to remain quiet during the hearing. What they can’t do is answer questions on your behalf. For more information read the relevant section in the Acas Code.

Can I ask for a friend or family member to attend the hearing with me?

You can ask and your employer might allow them to attend with you. However, you only have a legal right to be accompanied by a work colleague or a trade union representative. If you have a disability and require support at the hearing you should argue that it is a reasonable adjustment to allow them to attend.

Can I ask for the hearing to be postponed?

Yes and you should ask for a postponement if you need more time to prepare your case or if your representative cannot attend at that time.

Do I have to attend the hearing?
You don’t have to attend but it will make it much harder to win if you are not present and you rely on a written statement.

Can I record the hearing?

You should ask if you can record the hearing. If you do record the hearing without obtaining approval you might find it difficult to use the recording as evidence in any subsequent employment tribunal hearing.

Do I have to sign the minutes of the meeting?

It is important that the notes of the meeting capture all of the relevant things said. They do not have to record everything said at the meeting word for word. If you do not accept that the notes are accurate then ask for them to be changed. If your employer refuses to do so you should ask for your objection to be recorded before signing them. If you are not given a copy of the notes at the meeting then you should make sure they are sent to you. Carefully check them when you receive them and return them after making any corrections. You should retain a copy of the corrected notes for your records.

Do I have to appeal my dismissal if I think the decision was wrong?

No you don’t have to appeal but if you make a claim to the employment tribunal they might reduce any award by up to 25% if you don’t. If you feel you can’t work for your employer again then you should think carefully about whether to appeal. This is because if successful a dismissal will “disappear” and you will no longer be dismissed, so unable to claim unfair dismissal. You are unlikely to incur a reduction in any award if you can show that you acted reasonably.

I have appealed but I haven’t yet had an appeal hearing or been informed of the outcome. Should I go ahead and make a claim to the employment tribunal?

There are strict time limits within which a claim to the employment tribunal has to be made. This is usually 3 months less one day from the date of dismissal, or the act you are complaining about. The “clock does not stop ticking”, so you shouldn’t wait for the appeal to be heard or the outcome communicated if you are getting close to the deadline for making a claim.

Can I get help with my disciplinary hearing?

Yes. We provide a free service (although we are grateful for any donations). We can help you prepare for your hearing, explain what will happen, produce a written statement for you and assist with writing an appeal letter. Please contact us if you need any help.

My appeal wasn’t successful, is there anything I can do?

If you have appealed your dismissal but your employer has not changed their decision you might have a claim for unfair dismissal. You normally need to have been employed for 2 years to make a claim for unfair dismissal. However this is not always the case, for example, if your dismissal was discriminatory there is no requirement to have worked for a certain period of time. Contact us for further information and we can advise you if you have a potential claim.

Employers do not always pay what they should when they dismiss workers. We can check that you have received the right amount of notice and accrued holiday pay.

It is important that you make your claim within the strict time limits, 3 months less a day from the date of your dismissal. So if you were dismissed on the 15th June you need to have made a claim by the 14th September. If you are unsure about when you need to make a claim by, contact us for advice.