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What is a disciplinary appeal letter? + free template

What is a disciplinary appeal letter? + free template

A disciplinary appeal letter is a formal document that an employee submits if they disagree with a disciplinary decision taken against them on the part of you or management.

The way you manage the disciplinary appeal process can not only have legal consequences but also reflect on your business values and your commitment to transparency and fairness — so knowing how to respond to a disciplinary appeal letter is key. 

I have some experience in this area, and I’d like to provide some insights and practical advice on how to deal with these scenarios with confidence and legal compliance. This guide will also include a downloadable template for a disciplinary appeal letter that you can customise for yourself.

What is a disciplinary appeal letter?

A disciplinary appeal letter is a formal document wherein an employee expresses disagreement with disciplinary action taken against them.

In cases where an employee faces disciplinary action, they should have a chance to share their side. It’s a part of the process.

In the disciplinary appeal letter, they can dispute the findings, argue against the severity of the disciplinary action, or even just offer new information.

When an employee submits a disciplinary appeal letter, it’s a chance for them to share their perspective. It helps keep the disciplinary process fair, just and balanced.

What are the employee rights in the context of a disciplinary process?

You have specific responsibilities as an employer to make sure the disciplinary process is fair, and that you have a paper trail to prove it.

First off, you’ll have to provide a written notice of the right of appeal to the employee in question. It should be clear, concise, and timely. The employee should be informed of their right to an appeal. It sets the terms for a fair and clear process.

It’s also important for an employee to be accompanied by someone during an appeal hearing if they wish. This can be a trade union representative or even just a colleague.

Not taking these steps can lead to serious legal repercussions. If the process is handled poorly, it can lead to claims of unfair dismissal. That can damage your brand’s reputation, and spiral into costly court battles.

Find out more about written warnings before dismissal for more context in our guide.

Components of a disciplinary appeal letter

A disciplinary appeal letter is a structured argument that requires careful consideration. Let’s break it down.


Here, the employee states their intention to appeal the disciplinary action. They must mention when the decision was made - to establish the focus of the letter from the beginning.


Then, the employee presents their version of events. Common points they might bring up include:

  • Disputing the facts of the case: The employee may challenge the interpretation of the evidence brought against them
  • Pointing out procedural errors: The employee may point out factual flaws in the disciplinary process itself
  • Providing new evidence: If new information comes to light, the employee may choose to present it
  • Questioning the severity: The employee may highlight that the punishment does not fit the offence, and that the measures taken were too harsh


The employee should summarise their arguments, reiterate the key points of their appeal, and state their desired outcome from the process.

Disciplinary appeal letter template

Here is a handy template you can use, whether you wish to share it with your employees during the disciplinary process, or if you simply want to get an idea of what it looks like.

Disciplinary appeal letter template

Dear [Employer’s name],

I am writing to formally appeal the disciplinary decision made against me on [Date of decision] regarding [brief description of incident or issue]. I believe that this decision was unfair/unjust for the following reasons:

[First reason – e.g., disputed facts]: Here, explain why you believe the facts of the case were incorrect or misinterpreted.

[Second reason – e.g., procedural errors]: Detail any procedural errors that occurred during the disciplinary process.

[Third reason – e.g., new evidence]: If applicable, present any new evidence that was not considered in the initial decision.

[Fourth reason – e.g., severity of action]: Argue why you believe the disciplinary action was disproportionate to the offence.

In conclusion, I respectfully request that the disciplinary decision be reviewed and reconsidered. I hope for a fair reassessment of the situation, leading to a more appropriate outcome, such as [state desired outcome – e.g., reduced penalty, retraction of decision].

Thank you for considering my appeal. I am willing to discuss this matter further and provide any additional information required.


[Employee name]

How employers should respond to an appeal letter

When the disciplinary appeal letter shows up in your inbox, you’ll need to respond with a structured approach that balances fairness and compliance with UK employment law.

Your initial response

First, acknowledge receipt of the appeal letter. The response should be prompt, ideally within a few days. Include a time frame for when the employee can expect a decision.

This helps manage expectations and lets them know you are taking their appeal seriously.

The review process

At this stage, you take a deep dive into the employee’s appeal. That includes:

  • Reviewing the original disciplinary action and the reasons behind it
  • Careful consideration of the appeal letter, and reviewing any new evidence or arguments
  • Inclusion of key employees involved in the process

Getting to a fair outcome

Communicate the decision, whether positive or negative, whether you change the disciplinary action or uphold the original decision. In either case, you must explain the rationale behind it.

If the appeal is rejected, explain why, and inform them of any rights they might have, such as the right to take the matter to an employment tribunal.

The way you handle this is a reflection of your workplace culture.

Build a fair, equitable disciplinary appeal process with Charlie's HR Advice

If you need some guidance on how to make a fair and balanced disciplinary appeal process, I or another HR advisor at Charlie can help you navigate these often turbulent waters.

Book a free call, and we’ll help make a disciplinary process that works for your employees, and for you.

Book a call to learn more about HR Advice

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