Disciplinary Process

What is a disciplinary procedure?

As an employer you would carry out a disciplinary procedure if you felt that the employee had conducted themselves inappropriately within the workplace and feels there are issues that need addressing. It also enables the employee to be able to address any areas of concern that they feel need to be discussed with you during the disciplinary process which could be considered a mitigating circumstance.

Why would you have a disciplinary procedure?

You would be likely to begin the process if you felt that the employees behaviour is not compatible with the business ethos and working practise that is expected. Reasons for initiating one may include, 

  • To be able to discuss with the relevant employee that their working behaviour is not acceptable. 
  • To initiate a dialogue with the employee to be able to resolve any issues.
  • Instigate any necessary penalties due to the employees inappropriate behaviour.
  • To avoid any claims that the employee was dismissed unfairly.

Informal Process

You may instigate an informal chat with the relevant employee to discuss issues that are affecting their ability to carry out their work duties and express any concern, before any formal complaints are made. This enables the employee to be aware of your concerns and hopefully rectify any alarming behaviour. 

It is still important for you as the employer to make a written record of the informal chat in case this is needed later on in the process. It will provide evidence that the employer provided the employee with the opportunity to make positive changes.

Formal Process

The formal process is a more structured disciplinary process that involves different stages. They include the following.

  • Investigation– This is where an impartial individual will assess the situation and decide whether there has been any misconduct on the part of the employee. 
  • Invitation to disciplinary hearing– This is where the employee is formally invited to the disciplinary hearing and has the opportunity to prepare their case against you.
  • Disciplinary Hearing – This is where the meeting takes place whereby notes will be made and possibly recorded too if conducting over Zoom. 
  • Disciplinary Outcome– This is where the outcome of the disciplinary hearing is decided. You may decide that no further action is required or they may issue a written warning.
  • Appeal Process- This is where the employee can appeal against the decision of the disciplinary outcome. An impartial individual will consider the case and decide whether the original outcome needs to be overturned or remains as it is, resulting in the final outcome of the case. 

Knowing how to deal with any disciplinary hearings in the workplace is an important and lengthy process so ensuring you have a knowledgeable and hardworking HR team to be able to deal with this is important for your business. 

    Staff Handbooks: Disciplinary Process

    When you own a business it is important to be aware of the formalities of a disciplinary procedure should this ever occur with one of your employees.