The ACAS Code of Practice was introduced in April 2009 to deal with disciplinary and grievance matters. The ACAS Code is not statutory; however, employment tribunals will take into account whether employers have followed the Code.
The ACAS Disciplinary Code of Practice has 3 steps:
- The employer should write to the employee notifying them of the allegations against them, the basis of the allegations and invite the employee to a meeting to discuss the matter.
- Hold a meeting to discuss the allegations. Employees have the right to be accompanied at the meeting. After the meeting, notify the employee of the decision and the employee's right to appeal.
- If the employee appeals, hold an appeal meeting. The employee has the right to be accompanied. Inform employee of final decision.
The ACAS Disciplinary Code of Practice also suggests the employer:
- establishes facts before taking any action
- only uses formal procedures for serious disciplinary matters
- outlines what the employee needs to do to either improve their performance or why they need to change, how this will be monitored and the consequences of failing to improve or change
- tells the employee of their right to appeal and arrange for any appeal to be heard by a senior manager not involved in the previous meeting
- agrees a suitable date for meetings with the employee and the person chosen to accompany them
- takes timely action, i.e. deals with disciplinary action or grievances without delay
- keeps written records of meetings and actions taken
The ACAS Grievance Code of Practice has 3 steps:
The employee must:
- inform their employer of their grievance in writing.
- be invited by the employer to a meeting to discuss the grievance and receive the outcome of the meeting in writing.
- be given an appeal meeting if the employee wishes to appeal the outcome of the first meeting and receive the final decision in writing.
The employee raising a grievance is also recommended to:
- take all reasonable steps to attend a grievance meeting.
- notify the employer of the person chosen to accompany them, who can be another employee or trade union official who can take paid time off to prepare for and go to a hearing.
- not ask the person accompanying them to answer questions on their behalf