The Disciplinary Procedure
Ensuring a fair hearing
This section is set out to inform both the employee and employer of the important details that an employer should follow in any disciplinary proceedings. This is made up of a few key areas, namely:
- informal proceedings
- performance monitoring
- appeal action
For both a healthy work atmosphere and a fair environment, an employer may consider carrying out an informal meeting before beginning a formal disciplinary procedure. However, when a case warrants a more serious disciplinary sanction from the outset, the employer should consider moving straight to a formal disciplinary process.
The idea of informal proceedings, especially in respect of issues regarding performance, is that the meeting should be supportive and encourage development or improvement of conduct while offering any additional training required.
Where the issue at hand is the employee's performance, after setting initial aims and goals within the informal meeting, the employer must ensure that performance is monitored for improvement and/or decline.
This procedure could involve regular communications with the employee and/or it may involve discussing the performance pattern with the employee’s line manager. Dates must be kept in order that the records may be produced at a later date if necessary.
When an employee improves, achieving aims and reaching performance goals, the employer should write a congratulatory letter of encouragement.
If an informal route does not bring about the required improvement in performance or conduct, an initial investigation should be completed, prior to any formal disciplinary action being taken. This ensures that all parties are best informed with regards to alleged failures in performance or conduct.
The employee should be provided with a copy of all evidence, detail and documents obtained by the employer in the course of the investigation.
The hearing and post communications
At this point the employer should have:
- considered a supportive and informal meeting prior to any disciplinary action
- in the case of performance issues monitored performance following on from the informal meeting
- carried out a full investigation
- supplied detail of the investigation to the employee
Depending on the outcome of the investigation a disciplinary hearing may take place where any sanctions or dismissal action can be discussed as necessary.
The employer must formally write to the employee (or ex-employee) outlining the decision and their right of appeal.
Appeal and appeal hearing
After receiving the outcome of the hearing, the employee must be presented with the option to appeal.
Upon receiving a request the employer should arrange an appeal hearing which can be either an appeal based on the original evidence or a full rehearing.
It is important that a full record is kept of the hearing.
Similarly to the previous hearing, the employer is required to write to the employee informing them officially of any decisions that have been made.
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