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Employment Chatts WEEK 1: Disciplinary Process

View profile for Leanne Day
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In this month's mini-series we look at what should and should not be done by an employer when it comes to the disciplinary process.  It is important to be aware that if matters become contested and a claim is made to the Employment Tribunal, any compensation award can be increased by up to 25% if a fair procedure has not been followed. 

This week's article we will cover some of the do's and don'ts when it comes to following a proper procedure:

  • DO understand that things don't always go smoothly in the employment world, and the benefits of being prepared shouldn't be underestimated.
  • DO read and understand the ACAS Code of Practice.  This Code sets out guidance on how these matters should be handled and outlines the minimum steps which an employer should follow.
  • DO ensure that disciplinary matters are dealt with fairly, promptly and consistently.  Remember, no matter how small or large the employer's business is, all employers should follow a fair procedure when it comes to disciplinary matters.
  • DO carry out a thorough investigation and be transparent throughout the entire process.
  • DO try to have a quiet word first away from others, if this is appropriate.  Sometimes this is all it takes to resolve a matter and there may be something affecting the employee's performance or attitude at work which the employer is unaware of. 
  • DO document the date and time of any informal chats and what was said. 
  • DO ensure that the employee is made aware of the consequences should their behaviour continue. 
  • DO consider the individual circumstances of each case.  Look at each situation and its facts before deciding the most appropriate action, whilst also keeping consistent and treating employees equally. 
  • DO consider the employee's safety and offer remote hearings and meetings where possible.  If these are not possible then employers must ensure that it is safe to hold a face to face meeting in line with government guidance.  Employees' health and wellbeing should be a priority. 
  • DON'T prolong or delay matters any further than necessary.
  • DON’T assume that small employers do not have to follow a proper procedure.
  • DON'T treat individuals differently.  Try to look back on previous decisions for similar situations to see what actions or sanctions have been taken for others.
  • DON'T proceed straight to a disciplinary meeting without first investigating matters.

Next week we will look at the investigation process.

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