There are two statutory dismissal and disciplinary procedures (SDDPs) - standard and modified. In most cases, where these procedures still apply, you should follow the standard one. In Northern Ireland, you can obtain the current disciplinary procedures from the, which has a code of practice for you to follow based on the statutory procedures.
The standard SDDP has three stages:
The employee has the right to be accompanied at both meetings by a colleague or union representative.
The modified SDDP only applies in very rare cases of gross misconduct where you feel you are justified in dismissing immediately without notice or pay in lieu of notice.
The procedure has two stages:
The employee has the right to be accompanied at the meeting by a colleague or union representative.
If you fail to follow the appropriate SDDP and the employee subsequently brings a claim before an employment tribunal and is successful, their compensation can be increased by up to 50%.
When you are dealing with a disciplinary issue or dismissal you still have to follow a fair and reasonable procedure.
You will be expected to follow the good-practice advice set out in the revised Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures. If you unreasonably fail to do so and the issue ends up at an employment tribunal, the tribunal could increase the employee's compensation by up to 25%.
You can read the Acas discipline and grievance code of practice and the guidance that accompanies the code on the.
As well as having a revised code of practice, Acas provides a free 'Early Conciliation' service. This is a free service designed to resolve workplace disputes. If you have a problem with your employee that you can't resolve and the employee is considering lodging the claim at an Employment Tribunal, Acas must first offer the EC scheme.
For more details, see the section 'Before making a claim' under. You can also see the .
If you already have disciplinary and dismissal procedures which comply with the statutory requirements then there is no need to update your procedures. The Acas Code largely follows the statutory procedure, although there is a decreased emphasis on time limits and an increased emphasis on trying to settle disputes informally.
Note, however, that in gross misconduct cases, the Acas Code of Practice indicates that a fair disciplinary procedure should always be followed before taking any decision to dismiss without notice. As such, continued use of the modified statutory procedure in Northern Ireland is not, therefore, recommended.
If you have a contractual procedure that provides rights above and beyond a fair and reasonable procedure as advised by Acas, you must follow it in its entirety. Where no such contractual procedures exist, you must follow a fair and reasonable procedure as set out in the Acas Code of Practice.