Does your business have a contractual disciplinary procedure? A salutary case from the EAT warns employers of the dangers of having contractual disciplinary and appeals procedures. Check your policies now!
We advise clients to ensure that their disciplinary procedure is not part of their employment contract. Instead the disciplinary procedure should sit outside of the contract in a discretionary and non-contractual Employee Handbook, for example. Whilst the employer should follow the process to avoid a dismissal from being unfair, it means that if the employer does not follow the process it will not be a breach of contract. A recent case from the EAT makes it even more important that disciplinary policies are non-contractual.
In Salmon v Castlebeck Care (Teesdale) Ltd and ors, the EAT has held that where an employee successfully appeals against a dismissal using a contractual disciplinary appeal procedure, the contract of employment is revived automatically, without need for the employer to make a specific decision that the employee should be reinstated.
Whilst for some employers, having non-contractual policies is not possible, it is always advisable to check your business’s policies and procedures from time to time to ensure that they are up to date not only from a legal perspective but also from the point of view of representing the organisation’s culture.
For information about forthcoming legislative changes or to discuss a review of your business’s contracts and policies please contact us on 0118 952 7284 or at [email protected] .
Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.