Whenever you have a Formal Meeting about an issue or concern at work, you have the right to Appeal if you are dissatisfied with the Outcome.
This applies to all types of cases. Whether you face a disciplinary charge, or are being criticised for your sickness record or performance. Or it is you who is making a grievance, harassment or discrimination complaint about how you have been treated.
The ACAS Code of Practice sets out your rights.
Your right to appeal
Soon after any Formal Meeting, the Hearing Manager should write to you explaining their decision on your case and their proposed outcome.
- For a grievance case, this could be to either accept or reject your complaint. And if accepted, what remedial action is required.
- For a disciplinary case, if the allegations are upheld against you, what if any penalty you will receive.
The Outcome Letter must also confirm that you have a right to Appeal against the decision, and the timeframe within which you are entitled to do so.
What you should appeal about
It isn’t enough to Appeal simply because you don’t like the Hearing Manager’s decision. You must provide clear reasons why.
Your grounds for Appeal can be focused upon:
- Why you believe the Hearing Manager’s decision was unreasonable.
- Where you consider that the decision reached was based on an incorrect or perverse interpretation of the evidence available to the Hearing Manager.
- Additional evidence not previously raised by you at the original Formal Meeting.
- A failure by your employer or the Hearing Manager to comply with your employer’s policy requirements, or the ACAS Code of Practice.
- How the outcome is unreasonable – whether this be a disciplinary penalty or proposed measures to resolve a successful grievance.
If you are being supported by WRS, we can advise you on the merits of appealing and chances of success. And what points exactly to focus upon.
How you should appeal
You must confirm your intention to Appeal in writing.
Don’t delay doing this – your employer’s policies will almost certainly state that you must do this within two weeks of the date of the Outcome Letter.
Your Appeal Letter should be addressed to the Hearing Manager, or whoever else you have been advised in the Outcome Letter.
Keep your Appeal Letter short and to the point – covering all the pertinent points in open-ended and general terms. Otherwise, you could restricted what you may eventually want to cover at the Appeal Hearing. Also, state whether you intend to exercise your right to be accompanied. We recommend that you take professional advice on what to write. WRS can provide this.
You should receive confirmation within a week, with the date offered for a further Hearing no more than another 14 days later.
Bear in mind that if you are likely to want to pursue your case further to employment tribunal, this must be within 3 months of either your dismissal, penalty, or the cause of your complaint. You may therefore have to start ‘the ball rolling’ this process even before your Appeal is heard.
Who should handle your Appeal
A completely impartial Appeal Manager must be appointed. This should be someone who has had no prior involvement in your case and who is more senior to the previous Hearing Manager.
If there is no-one more senior available, it is possible someone at the same level of seniority could be appointed from a completely different area. This is so long as they have the freedom to reach their own decision on your case.
In small companies this may not always be possible. Here, your employer may engage an independent third party to hear your case. Alternatively, the most senior person could potentially hear both your original complaint and Appeal – but only if they can show themselves to be entirely reasonable and fair in considering your Appeal.
Preparing for and attending your Appeal Hearing
This will be your last opportunity to resolve your case without resorting to legal proceedings.
You therefore want to give yourself every possible chance of succeeding. Complying with your employer’s procedural requirements and those of the ACAS Code of Practice will also be essential to determining how much compensation you could receive with a successful employment tribunal case. Any compensation you may be entitled to receive could be cut by up to 25% if you don’t follow the correct process.
We strongly recommend that for your Appeal Hearing you:
- Prepare a completely new Written Statement. Instead of revisiting your previous arguments, this should be focused instead upon the content of the Hearing Manager’s Outcome Letter and why you believe this to be unreasonable.
- Exercise your right to be accompanied to the Appeal Meeting – ideally by a representative of a trade union who can present your case in the most effective and persuasive way.
WRS can assist you with this. Preparing for you a high-quality Written Statement and making arrangements for you to be accompanied by a representative of a trade union – even if you have not previously been a union member.