29 January 2020
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held that there can be circumstances where, when considering misconduct, a separate investigatory and disciplinary hearing is not required.
Under s.98(4) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA), whether a dismissal is fair or unfair will depend on whether the employer acted reasonably in treating the employee’s conduct as a sufficient reason for dismissing them. The case of British Home Stores v Burchell provides further clarification, outlining that a decision to dismiss requires “as much investigation into the matter as was reasonable in all circumstances of the case”. The Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures dictates that it is “important to carry out necessary investigations” and that this will, in some cases, require the holding of an investigatory meeting with the employee prior to a disciplinary hearing. It also outlines that, in other cases, the “investigatory stage will be the collation of evidence by the employer for use at any disciplinary hearing”.