Disciplinary situations can be incredibly daunting and in addition employees with over two years’ service have the right to claim unfair dismissal which can be costly.
Whilst it is important to always comply with the ACAS code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures, here are some tips to help you to manage any disciplinary situation which you may face.
1. Have a Disciplinary Policy and ensure that:
All employees are aware of and understand your policy.
You consistently follow your policy and process to prevent being found guilty of procedurally unfair dismissal in an employment tribunal.
You train managers on how to follow the policy.
2. Record everything:
The minutes of every meeting.
All decisions made.
3. The investigating officer:
Should decide whether the matter is serious enough to warrant a disciplinary hearing. They should not provide any further opinion.
Should be unconnected to the allegations, remaining objective and unbiased throughout.
4. Conduct a reasonable investigation:
Make sure that the allegations are clear.
Interview any witnesses and take detailed notes of their statements.
Collect any documents relating to the allegations.
Investigate any routes that may provide evidence in support of the employee’s case.
Enable employees to ask colleagues for statements if this could support their case.
Consider suspending the employee on full pay if required.
5. Document pack:
Prepare a document set and witness statement. Issue this to the disciplinary manager and to the employee in advance of the hearing.
Provide sufficient detail about the alleged behaviour to enable the employee to prepare for the disciplinary hearing.
6. The disciplinary hearing
Ensure that the employee is provided with the right to be accompanied by a work colleague or a Trade Union representative.
Do not be tempted to add new concerns at this stage, all allegations need to be thoroughly investigated into. It is possible to return to the investigation stage if required.
7. Provide the right of appeal
Every employee has the right to appeal any form of disciplinary action, from a warning to a dismissal.
Whilst an employment tribunal will consider the size and resources available to you, if possible have a different person conduct the investigation, disciplinary, and appeal, with increased seniority.
Maintain confidentiality throughout the process. Everyone involved, including witnesses need to abide by this.
Ensure that your policy is updated in line with any legal changes, and reviewed regularly.
Kerris Crook HR Consultancy can help you by providing a disciplinary policy, reviewing your current policy, and providing hands-on guidance and support through any disciplinary situation. Please do contact me with any questions or concerns that you have.