The Acas Code replaced the more prescriptive statutory disciplinary procedure in April 2009. The Acas Code of Practice suggests parties ‘should’ rather than ‘must’ act in a certain way. While a dismissal is no longer automatically unfair if you do not follow the Acas Code in a work disciplinary process, Employment Tribunals can increase or reduce compensation by 25% if either you or your employee has ‘unreasonably’ failed to do so.
The Acas Code of Practice sets out standard procedures for dealing with disciplinary issues in the workplace up to and including dismissal. The Acas disciplinary procedure seeks to ensure everyone is treated fairly and reasonably and in the same way in similar circumstances and in line with legislation.
The Acas disciplinary procedure sets out steps you ‘should’ take when tackling misconduct and poor performance. The Acas disciplinary code explicitly excludes dismissal on the grounds of redundancy or the non-renewal of a fixed-term contract. But it is still not clear whether the non-renewal of a fixed-term contract due to poor performance or misconduct is covered.
We provide a range of support and advice to help ensure you understand your responsibilities under the Acas disciplinary code. It is a good idea for you to train your managers to ensure the Acas disciplinary code is followed from the outset. We can also advise on disciplinary procedures in the workplace to ensure your employees know what is expected of them in terms of performance and conduct and the consequences of failing to meet the company’s required standards.
Where you have to use disciplinary at work procedures, we can explore whether this is a conduct or capability issue, or even a mixture of both. We can advise on the best way to proceed; for example, setting suitable goals and timescales for your employee to improve their performance. We can also advise on the grounds for disciplining and can provide the support you require at the disciplinary hearing and/or appeal. We will ensure that you do not unintentionally discriminate against an individual or group of employees. For example, by not taking a person’s disability into consideration and failing to make reasonable adjustments. If there is no improvement in your employee’s performance or the only penalty for misconduct is dismissal, we will help you follow the Acas dismissal procedure to ensure you follow a fair process.