Sunday, 07 September 2014 01:00

Disciplinary Process - A Rough Guide

Failure to follow a formal process with employees remains one of the main reasons that we are asked to intervene in disciplinary situations. If a case has the potential to end in dismissal, you need to make sure that all the boxes are ticked by following your disciplinary process to the letter. Even in what appears to be a clear cut case of, for example, gross misconduct, failing to follow a process properly could still result in a claim for wrongful dismissal.

Faced with losing their job, particularly if there is a chance that the reason for their dismissal will affect their ability to get another job elsewhere, an employee is likely to try any option. And now that Tribunal fees have been scrapped, there is nothing to stand in their way of entering a tribunal claim.

Here’s a rough guide to a disciplinary process. It’s not a panacea as all cases will differ in some way, but you can look at it as a framework for managing your disciplinary process.

●  If you have cause to commence a disciplinary process your fist step must be an investigation to establish exactly what has occurred or failed to occur.

●  Interview the subject employee and take notes of the meeting. You don’t need to give any notice of the meeting and you’re not required to offer representation. You can call the meeting immediately if you wish.

●  Have the employee sign the notes to agree that they are an accurate representation of the discussion in the meeting.

●  Suspension is viewed as quite an extreme act. Only suspend the employee if he or she is a potential risk to the business

●  Interview any witnesses and take statements from them. Gather any other evidence and prepare your case.

●  If you decide that there is a case to answer, invite the employee to a disciplinary meeting in writing.

●  You must give reasonable notice of this meeting; we recommend at least 48 hours. We also recommend that you use recorded delivery or have some way of proving that the invitation was delivered.

●  You’ll need to include any evidence that you intend to use at the disciplinary meeting along with the invitation to give the employee a chance to build a defence.

●  You must offer representation; either a fellow employee or an officially appointed union representative, even if you don’t recognise unions at your place of work. You don’t have to allow a family member or solicitor to represent unless your own policy says otherwise.

●  A senior manager is good to hold the disciplinary meeting. Ensure the meeting is fully minuted. Make sure there is someone in a management level above who isn’t involved for appeal purposes.

●  Put your case forward, hear your employee’s defence. Adjourn the meeting to consider the outcome. Don’t make a decision there and then, it may look like you have pre-judged it.

●  Re-convene the meeting to state the outcome. If the case is upheld, apply the appropriate measures. This will range from a verbal warning to a written warning and up to dismissal.

●  Inform the employee of the outcome in writing. You must offer the right to appeal your decision. Keep the time frame for appeal short. We recommend within one week.

●  Warnings may stay on the employee’s file for up to 12 months and a recurrence will escalate the disciplinary measure taken up to the next level.

●  If the employee appeals the outcome an appeal meeting must be arranged, preferably with a more senior manager but at least with someone different but at the same level as the disciplining manager.

●  Follow a similar process to the disciplinary and decide if outcome should be upheld or overturned.

●  You should always endeavour to follow your own disciplinary policy.

Of course we’re on hand to support with any disciplinarians and for some clients we manage the complete process so if you would like support you just need to call us on 01452 331331 or e-mail us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Read 595 times Last modified on Thursday, 24 May 2018 14:03


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