Has Your Employer Breached the Acas Code?

14 March 2017

An Employment Tribunal can increase an employee’s compensation by up to 25% if it can be shown the employer unreasonably failed to follow the Acas Code.

Grievance or Disciplinary Action

If an employee raises a grievance with their employer, or an employer takes disciplinary action against an employee, both parties should familiarise themselves with the Acas Code of Practice on Discipline and Grievance.

These are statutory documents which provide clear guidance on how a grievance or disciplinary matter should be dealt with. Not only is the guidance useful in that it informs an employee how a matter should progress, but there are also potential financial ramifications if the procedures are not followed by either the employer or the employee.

Breaches of the Acas Code

If you are subject to disciplinary action, you should consider whether your employer has complied with the Acas Code. Commonly the Acas Code of Practice will have been breached because:

  • Your employer has not clearly set out the allegations made against you
  • Your employer has not warned you of the potential disciplinary outcome
  • Your employer has not provided you with copies of the evidence against you
  • Your employer has not informed you of your right to be accompanied to the disciplinary hearing
  • Your employer has failed to offer you the right of appeal
  • The same person deals with both your disciplinary hearing and your appeal

It’s important to note that as an employee you must also follow the Acas Code. If an Employment Tribunal were to decide you had unreasonably failed to follow the Code they could reduce any compensation awarded to you by up to 25%.

However, the Acas Code does not apply to dismissals due to redundancy or the non-renewal of fixed-term contracts on their expiry.

Employment Law Advice

If you have recently been notified that you are going to be subject to disciplinary action, or have made the decision to make a grievance, we can provide you with initial legal advice and guidance on what is likely to happen

Alternatively, if you have been dismissed we can review your paperwork for a Fixed Fee starting at £240 including VAT. This includes providing written legal advice on whether you would have reasonable prospects of succeeding in a claim against your employer, and includes legal advice on whether you would be able to seek increased compensation due to breaches of the Acas Code by your employer.

For example, in a claim for unfair dismissal an Employment Tribunal has the discretion to increase an employee’s compensation by up to 25% if it can be shown the employer unreasonably failed to follow the Acas Code.

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