This is a question that I am often asked by an employer when an employee fails to submit their appeal following their dismissal within the timeframe set.

An employer’s refusal to hear an appeal because it has been received after their set time limit for hearing the appeal could, potentially, be a factor in determining whether the dismissal is unfair and whether there may be an increase in compensation for a failure to follow the Acas Code of Practice. However, where an employee submits an appeal significantly after the employer’s deadline to appeal, this argument is less likely to be successful but will remain a decision on the facts of each case.

The Acas Code of Conduct itself does not specify a time limit but employers need to be reasonable when deciding their own time limit and when responding to an employee’s request for an extension of time.

Whether or not it is deemed reasonable to accept an appeal out of time, or an extension of time to submit the appeal, will depend upon the facts in each case. The usual time limit to appeal is 5 working days after the date of the dismissal decision.

In some circumstances, there are clear benefits to an employer hearing an appeal out of time. For example, it may allow the employer an opportunity to remedy any mistakes they may have made during the original disciplinary process and thereby limit the employee’s prospects of success with any future claim.

If an employee wishes to submit an appeal of a dismissal after the limitation date for issuing any employment claim they may have, an employer may not wish to incur the management time in dealing with the appeal if they are aware that the deadline to submit a claim in the Employment Tribunal has already passed.

If you require legal advice on how to carry out a disciplinary process, appeal or termination of contract, please contact Farleys’ employment solicitors on 0845 287 0939 or complete our online contact form.