Disciplinary procedure: increasing sanctions

A Court of Appeal decision confirms that, where an employer has set out a formal contractual disciplinary procedure, it is bound by the terms of that procedure. In this case, the employee had appealed against the imposition of a written warning and the employer contemplated increasing the severity of that sanction, which would lead to the employee’s dismissal.

The court held that the contractual procedure did not allow for an increased penalty on appeal. To construe the procedure in that way was inconsistent with the terms of the contract and the Acas guide on discipline and grievances.