Our Advice Service is available 24 hours a day, every day, to assist you with this process and ensure that what you do is reasonable. There is guidance available on running hearings and our Advice Service Consultants can discuss with you what you need to do at each stage and help you reach your decision on review of the evidence and minutes. We’re only a phone call away so please call on 0844 892 2772 and let us help you through this process.

If you find yourself in the position where you are considering dismissing an employee you need to make sure that this is not something you enter into lightly or without carrying out a proper investigation. There are some simple principles that you should always bear in mind and adhere to. They are:

Do:

    • Carry out an impartial investigation to see if the issues occurred and if there is a reasonable explanation
    • Write to the employee calling them to a hearing and giving them advance notice of the issues and evidence
    • Listen to what they have to say with an open mind
    • Reach a decision based on a clear consideration of the facts and any provided explanations
    • Give the right of appeal

Don’t:

  • Assume that the employee carried out the allegations or has no explanation
  • Spring issues on them without warning and without the chance to consider a defence
  • Decide that there is no valid defence before the hearing
  • Decide to dismiss without a good reason
  • Tell them that an appeal won’t change the outcome

These seem obvious but it is surprising how many employers can get these wrong. How you approach and conduct hearings is an important part of considering whether or not you have acted reasonably. If it looks like you have not acted reasonably this could result in a costly experience at Tribunal.

In order to ensure that you carry out hearings properly it is important to remember the purpose of these hearings. You need to pay attention to what is being said and to ensure that evidence is taken for the purpose of determining an issue of fact and reaching a decision based on that evidence. This means that there is an issue for consideration but no decision should have been made before all the evidence has been heard and examined. It is also an opportunity for an individual to state their case and be heard. This means that if you are in charge of a hearing you must be willing to listen to any points or arguments that the individual puts forward and give them due consideration.

All this means is that a hearing must be conducted with an open mind. If you have decided in advance that the individual is at fault then this ceases to be a fair hearing and becomes a paper exercise. This is not the way to ensure that you are making the right decision.

The obligation on the person carrying out the hearing is to listen and examine the evidence and carry out a reasonable investigation. If the evidence is challenged then it needs to be examined in light of that challenge which could include going back to the person who provided that evidence and putting the challenge to them or, potentially, asking them to attend the hearing so that the issues can be discussed.

Any issues raised by the individual must be examined so that you can state why you were satisfied with your conclusion on that point. All issues for consideration must be open for review and investigation.

Our Advice Service is available 24 hours a day, every day, to assist you with this process and ensure that what you do is reasonable. There is guidance available on running hearings and our Advice Service Consultants can discuss with you what you need to do at each stage and help you reach your decision on review of the evidence and minutes. We’re only a phone call away so please call on 0844 892 2772 and let us help you through this process.