Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co

UK 200 2014 position: 28

Employment law 2013 review: ACAS code

The 2009 Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures (the 2009 Code) is intended to provide practical guidance to carrying out fair disciplinary procedures for misconduct or poor performance fairly. The employment tribunal must take the 2009 Code into account when considering whether the employer or employee acted reasonably and can adjust the amount of compensation awarded by up to 25 per cent either way if either the employer or employee has unreasonably failed to comply with the 2009 Code.

The good news for employers is that the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has confirmed that a minor procedural flaw does not necessarily render a dismissal unfair (Buzolli v Food Partners Ltd).

However, one recurrent question remains a grey area: does the 2009 Code apply where an employer is considering dismissing an employee for ‘some other substantial reason’ (SOSR)? Although it applies to ‘disciplinary situations’, it does not expressly exclude SOSR dismissals as it does in relation to redundancy or the non-renewal of a fixed-term contract…

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