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Topic: Disciplinary, capability and dismissal

failure to attend disciplinary hearing letter
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Failure to attend disciplinary hearing letter

Failure to attend disciplinary hearing letter

Our letter can be used where the employee is a no-show at their disciplinary hearing. This usually happens when they’re unwilling to attend because they refuse to face up to the issue. Rearrange the hearing at least once so that you’ve given them every opportunity to turn up, but on the second occasion it can normally go ahead in their absence.

A re-arranged hearing

It’s important that any dismissal or disciplinary sanction is fair. An important aspect of this is the disciplinary hearing, which is when the employee has the opportunity to answer the allegations before you take your decision on what disciplinary sanction (if any) to impose. However, what if the employee fails to turn up at the hearing? This is more likely when the employee is not already at work. If they’ve asked in advance for it to be postponed due to sickness absence or other good reason, then you should postpone it and rearrange it for a later date - use our Letter Rescheduling Disciplinary Hearing for this. Even if the employee simply fails to turn up without giving any reason, it’s still advisable to rearrange the hearing because at that stage you don’t know why the employee didn’t attend, so you can’t make any assumptions. In this scenario, use our Failure to Attend Disciplinary Hearing Letter. You can then try to find out the employee’s reason for non-attendance before deciding to go ahead with the rearranged hearing in their absence if they fail to turn up again.

Acas code

What the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures says is that where an employee is persistently unable or unwilling to attend a disciplinary meeting without good cause the employer should make a decision on the evidence available”. So it envisages that you can go ahead with the hearing in the employee’s absence, but only once the employee has shown themselves to be repeatedly unable or unwilling to attend, which indicates you need to have tried to hold the disciplinary hearing at least twice. You need to balance your need not to unreasonably delay disciplinary proceedings with allowing the employee the chance to explain their defence.

Letter contents

Our letter notes that the employee failed to attend the disciplinary hearing without requesting that it be rescheduled and without providing any reason for their non-attendance. It then goes on to emphasise the importance of their having the opportunity to explain their case and answer the allegations that have been made against them and warns what the potential outcome of the disciplinary hearing might be, i.e. a warning or dismissal, as appropriate. Finally, it reschedules the hearing for an alternative date and time and warns the employee that it’s unlikely you will postpone it again unless there are exceptional circumstances, so if they fail to turn up again without a good reason, the hearing will go ahead in their absence. In this particular circumstance making two attempts to hold the hearing should be sufficient to show you’ve acted fairly. Remember that if they don’t then turn up again, you still need to actually hold the hearing before taking your disciplinary decision, so make careful notes of it.



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