Toni Fitzgerald Gunn of Worthingtons Solicitors Employment law department provides legal advice to Employees suspended pending a disciplinary investigation
I have been suspended from work pending an investigation and am concerned that disciplinary action may be taken against me.
If you have been continuously employed for at least one year, there is a three step procedure that must be followed by an employer and the employee in respect of any disciplinary action/dismissal.
This procedure is as follows:
Step 1- Statement for Grounds of action and invitation to meeting Following the investigation, your employer must write to you, confirming whether it intends to take disciplinary action against you and setting out your alleged conduct, characteristics, or other circumstances which led it to contemplate dismissing or taking such disciplinary action. Your employer should allow you a reasonable opportunity to consider these allegations and must invite you to attend a meeting to discuss the matter. You have the right to be accompanied at such a meeting by either a fellow employee or a Trade Union Representative.
Step 2 - The Meeting You are to take all reasonable steps to attend the meeting, failing which it may go ahead in your absence. However, please note, the meeting must take place before any action is taken by your employer. If you are unable to attend the meeting for medical reasons, then you should provide evidence of same to your employer. After the meeting, your employer must inform you of its decision in writing and the grounds for same. You should be offered the right to appeal this decision.
Step 3- Appeal If you wish to appeal the outcome of the disciplinary meeting, you must inform your employer in writing. They must then invite you to attend a further meeting, which you are to take all reasonable steps to attend. You have the right to be accompanied by a work colleague or a Trade Union Representative. Again, if you cannot attend the meeting for medical reasons, you should provide evidence of said reasons to your employer. The outcome of the appeal must then be communicated to you in writing.
If, after completion of the above procedure, your employer has decided to dismiss you and you are unsatisfied with this outcome as you believe same is outside the band of reasonable responses that any reasonable employer would have taken in the circumstances, you may have grounds to lodge an Industrial Tribunal claim for unfair dismissal.
Toni Fitzgerald Gunn is a Solicitor with Worthingtons Employment department.