Exploring the Aftermath of a Successful Employee Appeal Against Dismissal

emily gordon brown
Emily Gordon BrownLegal Assessment Specialist @ Lawhive
Updated on 16th June 2024

When an employee successfully appeals against dismissal, it can feel like a victory for them, bringing relief and hope for a new beginning. However, the aftermath of such a decision often brings challenges and uncertainties for both employees and employers.

Understanding how to move forward positively in these situations is important to restoring equilibrium in the workplace and ensuring compliance with legal and organisational standards.

In this article, we'll look at what happens after an employee wins an appeal against dismissal, covering key topics such as reinstatement vs. re-engagement, the rights an employee retains after a successful appeal, and the steps employers need to take to comply with legal obligations and support a smooth transition back into the workplace.

What happens after a successful employee appeal against dismissal?

When an employee successfully appeals against dismissal, the employer must provide them with a formal written notice confirming the successful appeal outcome.

This notice should detail the decision, whether the employee will be reinstated to their original position or re-engaged in a comparable role.

The employer must also calculate and provide back pay to cover any wages lost during the dismissal period. This compensation should reflect the employee’s regular salary and any missed benefits.

What rights do employees have following a successful appeal against dismissal?

Employees have the right to reinstatement or re-engagement following a successful appeal against dismissal.

Reinstatement means that the employee is returned to their original job position, with all the terms and conditions of their employment restored as if the dismissal never occurred.

Re-engagement places the employee in a different but comparable position within the company. This might happen if their original role is no longer available or suitable.

Employees also have the right to:

  • Continuity of service;

  • Back pay for the period they were dismissed;

  • Restoration of benefits lost during the dismissal period;

  • Protection from any form of retaliation or adverse treatment resulting from their successful appeal;

  • Support to transition back into the workplace;

  • Raise any concerns or grievances about their treatment post-appeal.

If an employer fails to comply with the terms of the successful appeal, such as not reinstating the employee or providing back pay, employees can seek legal recourse through employment tribunals.

Employees can also claim compensation for any financial losses or emotional distress caused by the employer’s non-compliance with the appeal outcome.

How should employers handle reinstatement or re-engagement of employees post-appeal?

Reinstated employees should be treated as if they were never dismissed. This means all previous terms and conditions of employment, including salary, benefits, and seniority, must be restored. However, this may not always be possible if the original job is no longer available.

In these cases, another option involves placing the employee in a different, but comparable position within the company. This is known as re-engagement.

When re-engaging an employee, their new role should be equivalent in terms of status, pay, and responsibilities. If there are any changes to the employee’s role or conditions as part of the re-engagement process, employers should also make sure that the employment contract is updated and agreed upon.

What legal obligations do employers have post-appeal?

If an appeal was determined by an employment tribunal or an internal appeal panel, employers must follow that decision. This includes reinstating or re-engaging the employee as specified.

Employers also must:

  • Compensate the employee promptly for lost earnings during the period of dismissal.

  • Restore any benefits lost during the dismissal period, such as pension contributions, health insurance, and bonuses.

  • Ensure that the period of dismissal does not break the employee’s continuity of service.

  • Protect the employee from any form of retaliation or adverse treatment due to their successful appeal.

  • Provide support for the employee’s reintegration, such as reorientation sessions, updated training, or briefings on any organisational changes that occurred during their absence.

Can employees refuse a new role if it's different from their original position?

Employees can refuse a new role if it involves a substantial change, such as a demotion, reduction in pay, or significantly different duties.

If the employer insists on a role that is not comparable and refuses to negotiate, the employee may have grounds to file a claim with an Employment Tribunal based on unfair treatment, breach of contract, or failure to comply with the tribunal’s decision on re-engagement.

What if an employer delays reinstatement or re-engagement?

After a successful appeal, employers must comply with the appeal decision promptly. This includes reinstating the employee to their original position or re-engaging them in a comparable role without unnecessary delays.

Even if there are delays, employees are entitled to back pay for the period they were dismissed until they are reinstated or re-engaged. And, if the employer continues to delay or refuses to comply with the appeal decision, employees can file a claim with the Employment Tribunal based on non-compliance with the tribunal’s decision, breach of contract, or unfair treatment resulting from the delay.

How can employers mitigate future risks?

Successfully managing the aftermath of an employee’s appeal against dismissal not only addresses immediate challenges but also provides an opportunity to strengthen your organisation and mitigate future risks.

By proactively implementing strategies and improvements, employers can reduce the likelihood of similar issues arising and ensure a more resilient and compliant workplace.

Here are some tips on how you may mitigate future risks:

  1. Conduct a thorough review of all employment policies and procedures, including disciplinary, grievance, and dismissal processes. Ensure they are up-to-date and comply with current employment laws and regulations.

  2. Make sure that disciplinary procedures are fair, transparent, and consistently applied across the organisation.

  3. Strengthen grievance procedures to allow employees to raise concerns and have them addressed effectively and promptly.

  4. Provide regular training for managers and supervisors on effective leadership, conflict resolution, and how to handle disciplinary and dismissal processes appropriately.

  5. Educate managers on employment law and the importance of following fair and legal practices to avoid disputes.

  6. Keep detailed records of all disciplinary actions, performance reviews, and any related communications with employees.

  7. Regularly consult with legal experts to ensure that your policies and procedures comply with current employment laws and best practices.

  8. Create crisis management plans to handle potential disputes or issues that could arise, ensuring quick and effective responses.

What recourse do employees have if they believe their rights have been violated post-appeal?

After a successful appeal against dismissal, employees have a right to be reinstated or re-engaged fairly and without discrimination. However, if employees feel that their rights are being violated post-appeal, they have several avenues for recourse.

In the first instance, they should start by discussing concerns with their manager or HR department and, if the issue can't be resolved informally, follow the company's formal grievance procedure.

If internal and external attempts to resolve the issue fail, they may file a claim with the Employment Tribunal. Common grounds in these cases following a successful employee appeal include unfair treatment or workplace discrimination, victimisation, or breach of employment rights.

How can Lawhive help?

After a successful appeal against dismissal, employees are entitled to reinstatement or re-engagement, back pay, restored benefits, and protection against any form of retaliation. If they face issues such as unfair treatment or delays in reinstatement, they have recourse through internal grievance procedures or external legal channels, including filing claims with the Employment Tribunal.

To avoid further action from employees, employers should promptly comply with the appeal decision and take proactive steps to review and strengthen their policies and procedures to mitigate future risks and foster a fair and compliant work environment.

If you are either an employer or employee looking for advice in this area, our network of experienced employment lawyers is here to assist you.

At Lawhive, we combine the efficiency of a tech-driven platform with the expertise of a regulated law firm to offer top-tier support at a fraction of the cost of traditional firms.

Contact us today for a free case evaluation and quote for the services of a specialist employment lawyer.

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