employment law consultancy FAQs

We understand the complexities of employment law and how many different questions an employer may need answered.

what is the right to appeal?

If an employee thinks a decision is wrong, they have a right  of appeal. This often applies to disciplinary and grievance, where the employee may feel the process has been unfair or the sanction isdisproportionate. This will then initiate the employer’s appeal process.

There is no precise legal timescale in which an appeal should be heard;  however the ACAS code states appeals should be heard by employers without unreasonable delay.

Not offering an appeal could potentially make any dismissal unfair, giving the ex-employee possible grounds to bring a claim before the Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal.

what are the employer’s obligations?

The employer has a long list of obligations; from workplace safety, to providing adequate equipment, to fair treatment. Employers must go through a full and fair process when considering disciplinary or redundancy procedures.

For an employer, it is imperative to know and understand employment law and their obligations under the Employment Rights Act 1996, and the Equality Act 2010. Employers must comply with the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974; doing whatever is reasonably practicable to achieve this. Failure to meet their obligations, an employer may face a costly claim.

Contact Sentient if you need any assistance with any  HR or health and safety matters.

what to do when disciplinary or redundancy decisions are appealed?

If an employee has written to you following a disciplinary or redundancy decision, raising an appeal against the outcome, then you can point them towards the appeal process, usually found within an employee handbook. Appeals must be heard by employers without unreasonable delay.

Talk to Sentient in order to assess or formulate a fair appeal process.

The employer will need to schedule a meeting where the employee and their companion can attend to put forward their grounds of appeal. A representative of the employer, a Director or senior manager not involved in the disciplinary or redundancy process so far, can hear the appeal.  The appeal process may require the director/manager to carry out  further investigation.  The final outcome of the appeal will need to be confirmed in writing.

If the employee remains dissatisfied with the outcome, then, depending upon the circumstances, they may contact ACAS as part of pre claim conciliation before registering a claim before the employment tribunal.

Sentient are able to provide employment tribunal representation, learn more here.

upon what grounds can an individual appeal a decision?

Grounds for appeal include:

  • They feel the disciplinary outcome is too severe
  • They feel the grievance outcome is wrong
  • If any part of your disciplinary or grievance procedure was wrong or unfair
  • They feel they’ve been dismissed for an unfair reason
  • They felt that the investigation was not thorough and that new evidence exists

how far can an employer exercise their discretion not to pay a bonus?

An employer cannot legally withhold a contractual bonus if it can be proven that the employee had earned it. However, a discretionary bonus has no contractual obligation, so an employer can pay (or not pay) the bonus at any time and any amount, but there are other legal considerations to take into account.

Talk to Sentient to learn more about the rules around bonuses.

what must an employer provide under health and safety law?

The employer has a number of health and safety responsibilities including providing a safe system of work, a safe workplace, safe equipment, training and competency, and suitable and sufficient risk assessments that are up to date. If any of these are compromised, it could result in a claim being made by an employee against the business.

See our Health & Safety services to see how Sentient can help you.