Disciplinary procedure

Disciplinary procedure – what you should and shouldn’t do!

Do you have a disciplinary policy? It’s very important to have a disciplinary policy in place. This policy explains to the employee what the disciplinary process is so it doesn’t come as a surprise and the policy ensures everyone is treated fairly and consistently.

The disciplinary process is a subject we are frequently asked to help with and we cannot emphasise enough how important it is to get every stage correct.

Firstly you need to determine whether the situation that has occurred is due to the employee’s conduct or whether it is due to their capability.

There is a subtle but very important distinction between the two. If the situation has occurred due to lack of capability it is likely to be out of the control of the employee and perhaps some guidance or training is required to avoid the situation again in the future.

If the situation has occurred because of misconduct, this is within the employee’s direct control. The situation therefore may need to be resolved in a different manner than had it been a skills issue.

Holding a disciplinary meeting explains to the employee what they have done wrong and handles the problem using a process.

The tips below provide guidance on what you should and shouldn’t do at a disciplinary meeting.

10 Tips on holding a disciplinary meeting:

  1. Select an appropriate time and place to meet privately with the employee. Ideally you need a quiet room where it is easy to listen to the employee and focus on the conversation.
  2. Allow the employee to explain his/her understanding of the incident and put their case forward before any decisions are made.
  3. Don’t shout at the employee…it won’t get you anywhere and may cost you a lot of money! If necessary speak to HR for their recommendations on how to proceed. Lloyd HR Consultancy is happy to help and give advice.
  4. For a poor performance dismissal to be reasonable, you will need to have issued warnings previously, particularly as incapability is usually assessed over a period. Consider a personal development plan for them.
  5. You will often hear me go on about documentation. This is KEY! Think of the 5 W’s – What, when, where, who, why – keep it recorded and documented!
  6. Allow employees to appeal against any formal decision made.
  7. Employees have the right to be accompanied. They should be informed of this when invited to a disciplinary meeting.
  8. A lack of capability exists where no matter how hard an employee tries, he or she is simply unable to perform the job to the standard required by the employer. If the employee is too careless or negligent to reach the required standard, this will not constitute incapability, but could be regarded as misconduct.
  9. In the event of an act of gross misconduct you have the right to dismiss the employee, following an investigation and meeting, without notice or pay in lieu of notice. It is up to each employer to define what types of conduct will be regarded as gross misconduct.
  10. Gross misconduct is a single act of misconduct that is serious enough on its own to justify the employee’s immediate dismissal. It is important for the employer to clarify to the employee what constitutes gross misconduct. This should be in the disciplinary policy.

If you would like help with the disciplinary process or need to implement a disciplinary policy please call Charlie Lloyd on 01737 336336 or email charlie@lloydhrconsultancy.co.uk.