When advising small to medium size businesses, it is common for such businesses not to realise how much employment legislation is based around the appropriate procedure having taken place. It is not just the reason why you do something, but how you do it.
This applies throughout employment law and good HR practice, whether it be transferring a part of a business, dealing with sickness absence or dismissing for misconduct.
This is normally the start of any procedure. It allows for fact finding and assessing what evidence and data can actually be relied upon. It allows you to assess exactly what you are dealing with: performance management or misconduct? Does TUPE apply or not?
It also gives you time to identify more subtle issues such as consistency of treatment within your organisation, since inconsistent treatment of employees can lead to unfair dismissals or discrimination claims.
The importance of a thorough and fair investigation cannot be understated with regard to a dismissal. When the dismissing officer takes the decision as to whether to dismiss the employee or not, that decision needs to be based on ‘reasonable grounds’. Such ‘reasonable grounds’ can only normally be shown through a fair investigation.
Often employers do not want to meet with the employee they have an issue with and they simply want the problem to be solved. However, it is vital that employers are aware of the ACAS Code and the need to invite an employee to a disciplinary meeting where there is a disciplinary matter to be held.
The Code also requires that the employee be accompanied by a trade union representative or work colleague. In some circumstances it may be advisable to allow the employee to be accompanied by someone other than this.
Procedure is not only relevant for dismissals, but it applies to a whole range of circumstances such as TUPE transfers, redundancies, and grievances.
Employers of all sizes would be wise to consider before they take steps with regard to an employee or change to the business – what is the correct procedure for this? It will then help ensure a fair and correct procedure is followed, and then hopefully result a fair outcome.
In order to help small to medium size businesses, we have created our Starter Pack. This is for those hiring their first employee or for those who simply want to update their contracts.
With the Starter Pack you get the following precedents:
- Offer letter
- Basic junior contract of employment
- Basic Disciplinary Procedure
- Basic Grievance Procedure
- Basic Health and Safety policy
This is all at a fixed reasonable price and for more details, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01730 268 211.