Employment law- Appeal
What is the right to appeal?
You have the right to appeal against all disciplinary and grievance decisions that you consider are wrong or unfair. Your employer should inform you of your right, and the time period for doing so (usually this is up to 5 working days from the original decision). You will usually need to make the request in writing, and set out the grounds for doing so.
What are your employers obligations?
The appeal should be dealt with by your employer as soon as reasonably practicable and wherever possible, by a person who was not involved in the original disciplinary or grievance process- thus maintaing impartiality. Your employer will notify you of a date, time and venue for the appeal meeting.
Your employer must allow you to be accompanied at the appeal meeting by a work colleague, trade union representative, or trade union official if you reasonably request this.
If you would prefer not to attend an actual meeting, your employer may be prepared to deal with it only in writing, however you would lose the opportunity to question your employer in the same way as you would in a meeting.
You should be informed of the outcome of the appeal as soon as possible. It is unlikely that this will be immediately after the hearing, and you can usually expect a decision to be reached within a few days.
Should you appeal a dismissal?
You are not obliged to lodge an appeal. Some may wish to do so, because they genuinely want to continue working for their employer, and they feel aggrieved about how they have been treated, or that their grievance has not been properly addressed.
If you wish to remain employed and you feel you have been wronged, then it certainly makes sense to appeal. In doing so, there is also the benefit of a clear paper-trail setting out the issues, so that you can be seen to be pursuing all avenues for redress. This may also add weight to any subsequent tribunal claim.
In addition, it can often be worth lodging an appeal as a means of trying to reach a settlement with your employer if you have decided you want to leave. This is because there is the greatest incentive for your employer to reach a settlement after they have been notified of the appeal, but before it is actually heard. Your employer would avoid further time and expense in dealing with the process, and neither party loses face in terms of what the outcome may have been. Often, such negotiations lead to a settlement agreement.
If however, you have no intention of remaining with your employer (which we see in most cases, often because the mutual trust and confidence has already disappeared at this stage), then you need to question whether it is tactically worth appealing. There is a small chance that the appeal will be upheld (e.g. where there has been a failure of process by your employer, who then attempts to put matters right). This will put you in a difficult position if you never had the intention of continuing with employment, and this could in turn damage any subsequent tribunal claim.
Failure to appeal a dismissal can impact on any compensation that you are awarded at tribunal. A tribunal has a discretion to reduce any award of damages by up to 25% on the basis that you have unreasonably not followed an appeals process. If, however, you can show a good reason why you did not appeal (for example because there was little point because the relationship was beyond repair), then it may be that a minimal or no reduction would be made.
Should you appeal a grievance decision?
Yes, if you are unhappy with the decision and want to remain with your employer, then it is a good idea to appeal a grievance decision.
If, however, you consider the trust and confidence with your employer has dissipated too much to preserve the relationship, then there may be little point in appealing and you could simply resign and move on. Alternatively, you may consider making a claim for constructive dismissal. A negotiated settlement though would be the best course of action, before going down the tribunal route.
Usually, your contract of employment will state what time limit you have to lodge an appeal. In the case of dismissal, a usual time limit is 5 working days from the date of termination of your employment but this could be longer or shorter.
Please note that the time limit for you to commence the employment tribunal process runs from the date of your termination of employment- not the date of the decision of your appeal. You have 3 months less one day from the date of termination of your employment to start the process. Don’t be caught out!
Are appeals generally upheld?
In our experience- no. The vast majority are never upheld. In light of this, serious consideration should be given as to whether it is worth appealing or in your interest to do so (as set out above). We are happy to discuss tactics with you.
In many cases, a negotiated exit is going to be in your best interests. We have concluded thousands of settlements on this basis. This is a very tactical situation. Please feel free to contact us to discuss options.