Gearing up to Dismissal
Last week marked yet another media circus surrounding Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, who was suspended following reports that he’d hit producer Oisin Tymon after a day’s filming in North Yorkshire. The BBC launched an internal investigation into the ‘fracas’ on Monday but the findings are still pending.
Whatever the result, it’s vital that Clarkson is dealt with in accordance with the ACAS Code to make sure that the Beeb don’t end up with more than a Red Nose on their faces.
The ACAS Code
The ACAS Code was designed to put in place clear guidance for both employees and employers when a disciplinary or grievance issue raises its ugly head. It’s user friendly and an easy read – not like most employment legislation.
The Code recommends, for example, that an employee is given the right to be accompanied to a disciplinary hearing, and that they’re provided in advance with copies of all evidence the employer will seek to rely upon. The Code also states that an employee has the right to appeal against any decision made.
In Jezza’s case, the Code highlights that suspension should not be considered as a form of disciplinary action. This is to avoid any ‘Stig’-ma being incorrectly attached to the employee.
It’s imperative for the BBC to pay careful attention to the guidance in the Code, as if they dismiss Jeremy Clarkson without doing so, and he were to pursue a claim for unfair dismissal, an Employment Tribunal could increase any compensation he might win by as much as 25%.
Likewise, if an employee fails to pursue an appeal or address any concerns in accordance with the Code, any compensation they’re awarded could be reduced by the same amount.
The ACAS Code for Employers
Fairness and transparency in disciplinary and grievance matters is paramount to avoid a potential claim from a disgruntled employee.
1. Have a staff handbook detailing the rules and procedures relating to disciplinary and grievances
2. Ensure that managers fully understand rules and procedures and how to implement them
3. Deal with any disciplinary or grievances matters fairly and promptly, ensuring that the employee has a clear understanding of the process and is kept informed at each stage of the procedure
If you would like to discuss any of the above issues in more detail, including how it could impact your business, please get in touch and my team and I will be able to assist you.
(Image: Tony Harrison under CC BY 2.0)