Dealing with a Disciplinary Appeal Hearing: Tips for your Managers

Your manager is in the frame to chair a disciplinary appeal hearing. Here is a quick guide to make sure that they are able to run the whole process with confidence.

Before the Hearing

As chair, before the hearing make sure you develop a solid understanding of the previous decision and all the points that the employee has raised so far on appeal.

It’s important to be clear about whether the employee is appealing the decision (e.g. that the employee is guilty of misconduct), the sanction (e.g. the level of warning, or that the employee was dismissed) or both.

You also need to decide whether to review the decision (look at the decision based

 on the evidence that has already been given) or re-hear the case in full (e.g. talk to some or all of the witnesses again).

If the employee is saying that a point has been ignored or overlooked, you can take this into account in the appeal. You don’t need to re-hear all the evidence.

On the other hand, if the employee is saying that the manager was biased or prejudiced against them, that the hearing was pointless or a foregone conclusion, or if it was just a bit of a shambles, then a re-hearing of the evidence is the best way to go, because a review can’t put that right.

Making your Decision

If you decided to conduct a review (not a re-hearing), and you have now reached your decision, start explaining your decision with something like:

‘I have reviewed the decision of the manager chairing your disciplinary hearing’

Next, describe what your review has unearthed. You’ll be confirming whether you think that the evidence supported the disciplinary chairperson’s decisions on the facts of the case, and whether you thought that the appropriate factors were taken into account in deciding the sanction.

Now, it’s time for the ‘so what?’. If there were multiple points in the appeal, go through each point and describe what your review established. Then describe the cumulative effect.

Remember – what you are deciding is whether the original decision is one that could have been reasonably taken on the evidence.

When it comes to deciding the sanction, remember that you can decrease the sanction, but you usually can’t increase it.

If you have re-heard the evidence, you are making a decision based on the evidence, so construct the outcome as if it were being decided for the first time.

This is a short and sweet summary which is brought to life, and taken step by step for managers by 10to3’s upbeat animated training videos. HR doesn’t always have enough pairs of hands to help managers with their day-to-day people meetings, so we provide just-in-time animations to build confidence and support managers, when HR can’t be in the room.

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