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HR Tip - New disciplinary and dismissal procedures

30th Oct 2003
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These questions are being answered by Learn HR, a market leader in the provision of HR and payroll training and nationally-recognised professional qualifications.

Q: When the new statutory disciplinary and dismissal procedures come into force, will our existing disciplinary procedure become redundant?

A: The new procedures, which are expected to come into force early next year, are quite basic. They will become implied in all contracts of employment and, if you fail to follow the procedure in any way, the dismissal will be automatically unfair.

Conversely, if you do follow the procedure, the dismissal will not automatically be fair because you will still have to have a fair reason for your action and also behave reasonably.

ACAS is reviewing its Code of Practice, which sets out standards of reasonable behaviour.

If you fail to follow your own disciplinary procedure you may well be judged to have acted unreasonably, thus making the dismissal unfair. And if your procedure is included in employees' contracts of employment, failure to follow it would expose you to claims for breach of contract. I suggest you continue to follow it to the letter.

(This topic is covered in detail in our Employment Law courses)

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