Disciplinary processes


Being subject to a disciplinary process can be incredibly stressful. GMB is here to support our members with trained reps and officers here to help. This page offers some background information about what you can expect from a process, but if you need help you should get in touch with GMB straight away. 

What are my rights?

It can be daunting being called to a disciplinary hearing, but you don’t have to go it alone. You should always get in touch with your workplace rep, or your regional office if you don’t have a rep in your workplace. 

GMB workplace reps are trained in employment law for just this type of situation. 

There are some questions that come up time and again when members get in touch about disciplinary processes, here are a few of the most frequently asked questions and the answers to them. 


What are the rules of a disciplinary process?

Your employer should have a clear process for dealing with disciplinary issues. It is common place for employers to follow the Acas Code of Practice (which you can find here), unfortunately not all employers do, something which can often be their downfall if a case goes to tribunal. 

What are my rights when a disciplinary process is brought against me?

Your employer should have a clear process for dealing with disciplinary issues, and should never take any disciplinary action without a meeting – often called a hearing – to establish the facts and allowing you to put your case. 

When you have a disciplinary hearing, you have the legal right to be accompanied by a trade union rep or trade union official. Some procedures allow a   colleague to accompany you to the hearing; you may be happy to have that assistance but you are entitled to bring a union rep if you would prefer that. 


Does my employer have to give me notice of a disciplinary hearing?

Yes, you should receive a letter telling you when the disciplinary hearing will take place, what the hearing will consider, what the disciplinary “charge” against you is, what evidence they rely upon and about your right to be accompanied. The letter should also tell you what could follow from the hearing i.e whether the “charges” are considered to be such that your employment could be terminated if the allegations against you are upheld.

Can I receive legal support?

GMB has thousands of highly skilled and trained reps and employees who can help you. We also have a law firm that is free for GMB members to use (you can call UnionLine on 0300 333 0303). 

If you need advice on a disciplinary process, your rep should be the first port of call. If you don’t have a rep, contact your GMB Officer or regional office. 

Can I take someone to the hearing with me? What if my rep can’t make it?

If you are called to a formal disciplinary meeting then you have something called the ‘right to be accompanied’. This isn’t the case if it’s an informal chat or discussion, but if it is a formal meeting that could lead to disciplinary action you can take someone with you. 

You are allowed to take a colleague, if that is what the procedure allows for or a trade union rep or someone accredited by a trade union as an accompanying rep, but you have to ask to be accompanied in advance of the meeting. 

If your rep can’t make it, you can ask for your meeting to be rescheduled. This is often the case when an employer calls a disciplinary meeting at short notice. The employer is required to re-schedule within a reasonable time period, though the law around this right says a maximum of a 5 day delay.


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