What is the scope of HR’s role when an employee is being disciplined?

In Ramphal v Department for Transport, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) found there was sufficient evidence to suggest that the employer’s HR advisors had improperly influenced the decision of the dismissing officer, thereby rendering the dismissal of the employee potentially unfair.

A dismissing officer is perfectly entitled to receive advice from HR (or from their legal adviser which of course would be privileged) before reaching a decision, but the advice should be limited to matters of law and procedure or to ensure consistency of sanctions imposed; however tempting, HR advisors must be careful not to make the decision for the dismissing officer or influence them improperly. There’s a line to be drawn in respect of HR’s remit, which may not always be easy to identify.

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This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.


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