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Handling Appeals

Employee Appeals

HR:4UK have the expert knowledge to support businesses navigate the employee appeals process from start to finish. We are well versed with the legalities involved and our expert team can guide you through the process to ensure nothing is missed. We understand first-hand how stressful managing an appeal can be and are able to guide businesses with the professionalism, sensitivity and expertise required. At HR:4UK, our in-depth knowledge will help and advise you every step of the way through employee appeals, so you are never left on your own. You can be reassured that the process is being managed in accordance with the law at all times.


Whenever you have found it necessary to issue some form of disciplinary sanction against one of your employees then he or she must be provided with an opportunity to appeal against your decision. This is particularly important if you decided to terminate an employee’s contract of employment following a disciplinary hearing.

Employment Appeal Process

We understand how vital it is to prepare for an employment appeal process lodged by an employee. The penalties given to businesses that are found to unfairly dismiss an employee can be significant if proven. This is not only costly, but also damaging to a business’s reputation and both things can be avoided if the right support and guidance is sought. This is where the HR:4UK expert team can help. Having the HR:4UK team by your side will ensure you are well informed of the full legalities of the employment appeal process. You can be safe in the knowledge that you have followed all aspects of handling employee appeals correctly in accordance with the law.

The appeal

The disciplinary outcome letter that you gave the employee at the end of the disciplinary hearing (see our guide to disciplinary hearings) should have set out the timescales for submitting an appeal and who any request to appeal should be made to.

If the employee wishes to appeal he or she should set out the reasons in writing to be received, normally, within five working days following receipt of the disciplinary outcome letter. It can be longer if your internal policy provides for a longer period.

If you receive a request for an appeal then you should:

  • Write to the employee confirming who will chair the appeal hearing and the date, time and venue for the meeting.
  • Remind the employee of his or her right to be accompanied at the hearing.
  • Confirm the name of any note-taker who may attend.

Chairing an appeal hearing

We recommend that you arrange for someone who has not been involved in the disciplinary process to chair the appeal hearing. Where possible, it should be someone more senior than the chair of the original disciplinary hearing.

The appeal hearing can either be a review of the original disciplinary hearing outcome or be a full rehearing of the disciplinary issues. We recommend that you seek professional and expert advice from HR:4UK as to what form the appeal hearing should take.

The chair of the appeal hearing should:

  • Prior to the meeting, fully review all the evidence, notes and statements presented at the disciplinary hearing, including minutes of the meeting.
  • Outline the key points arising out of the initial disciplinary hearing.
  • Confirm the reasons given for any disciplinary sanction.
  • Confirm the employee’s grounds of appeal.
  • Provide an opportunity for the employee to make further representations or mitigation supporting their submitted grounds for appeal.

Once the proceedings of the appeal hearing have finished, the chair should adjourn the meeting to consider matters raised and discussed during the hearing and to reach a final decision concerning the appeal.

As the chair has a number of options available when considering the outcome of an appeal hearing, we recommend that he or she should seek professional and expert advice from HR:4UK.

Getting it right

If an employee is unhappy with the outcome of an appeal he or she might take the matter to an employment tribunal, alleging unfairness. The penalties available to tribunals are substantial (unlimited in some cases) so it is important that the appeal process is handled correctly.

HR:4UK can advise you and/or the chair of the appeal hearing about the available options and which would be the most appropriate, taking into account the individual circumstances of the case.

For further help and advice, speak to one of our advisors by calling 01455 444222 or complete our contact form and an advisor will contact you shortly.

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