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The appeals process

The appeals process

SKU: 7.43
  • Advice

    The appeals process is part of the grievance and disciplinary mechanism, in which you, as an employee, can challenge a decision (made by your employer) that you consider to be wrong or unfair. This could mean appealing against a grievance you feel has not been resolved or a disciplinary outcome you believe is too severe, such as demotion or dismissal.


    Disciplinary procedures and outcomes will vary, depending on each workplace. They should be written in your workplace’s disciplinary policy or guidelines. If you believe you are being treated unfairly in your workplace and wish to lodge a complaint or grievance, or want to appeal an outcome it is best to start with your employer’s policy.


    What is my right to appeal?

    You have the statutory right to appeal against a decision made at a disciplinary or grievance hearing if you believe the outcome was unfair. As part of the process, it is good practice for the employer to advise an employee in writing of the right of appeal when the employer’s decision is communicated (e.g., when the employee is issued with a dismissal notice).


    Within this correspondence, any deadline to submit the appeal should also be stated. This is usually within 5 days although this limit is not a fixed time for employers. There are no restrictions on the potential grounds on which an employee can appeal a disciplinary decision. Consequently, employers must take a broad approach in allowing employees the right to appeal.


    Potential grounds of appeal could include that:

    • New evidence has come to light and should be investigated;
    • The sanction imposed was too severe or disproportionate to the misconduct;
    • The sanction was inconsistent with one imposed for similar misconduct committed by another employee;
    • There was unfairness or bias among the original decision-makers; or
    • The employer has not taken into account a previously exemplary work record.


    Procedural failings can also form potential grounds for appeal, for example, where the employer failed to provide or follow their disciplinary policy or did not give the employee enough information about the allegations of misconduct against them, for them to be able to prepare for a disciplinary hearing.


    If you believe that the decision taken against you was unfair, it is usually a good idea to appeal. This is particularly true if you are appealing against a grievance decision and want to remain with your employer. Likewise, it is a good idea to appeal against dismissal if you wish to carry on working with your employer. In doing so, there is also the benefit of a clear paper trail setting out issues, so that you are seen to be pursuing all routes for redress. This can also add weight to any subsequent claim.


    For example, if you have been dismissed and do not appeal but later bring an unfair dismissal claim, you may be penalised by the Employment Tribunal for failing to follow the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures. They can reduce any compensation you are awarded by up to 25%.


    What is the ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) Code?

    The ACAS Code provides key guidance to employers and employees on how to conduct disciplinary procedures for misconduct or poor performance fairly. The Code is not legally binding, which means that a failure to follow its guidelines will not result in an automatic penalty. However, should you need to take your case to an Employment Tribunal, they will take any failure to follow the ACAS Code into account.


    Tribunals can increase your award of damages by up to 25% if your employer has failed to follow the code. Similarly, if you are found to be in breach of the Code - such as unreasonably not starting a grievance before resigning and claiming constructive dismissal - your damages can be reduced by up to 25%. The Code centres on the importance of dealing with issues fairly. Explicitly covering your right to appeal a decision you are unhappy with.


    Appealing Against Dismissal

    An appeal against redundancy dismissal or dismissal due to the ending of a contract is slightly more complex and is covered in the section “Unfair Dismissal”.


    How we can help

    You would reach the stage of an appeal after exhausting normal channels, on the assumption that we are already acting for you then your caseworker will continue to do so, if not then we suggest that you need to open a case by simply clicking on the link at the top of the page, activated by the link at the top of the page, should you wish to start a case the caseworker will send you the suitable payment link.


    Please note your caseworker can only give generic advice, their role is to prepare your details for handling by our legal team and to act as your point of contact, they will also issue you with your Password and PIN, these will be needed to log onto your client dashboard. From your dashboard you will be able to manage and view every aspect of your case, upload documents, images, files etc.


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